Friday, September 09, 2005

The Theological Depth of "Jesus Loves Me"

It is perhaps a part of the mythos of modern theology, but it is said that a student once asked the great 20th Century theologian Karl Barth (see also the wikipedia article on Barth what the most profound theological truth was, and Barth quickly replied "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Now skeptics may dismiss this story as a myth (and it probably is), or perhaps conjecture that Barth was indulging it a bit of wicked humor -- but I still think it a great story. It is easy to make complex truths sound complex -- it is very difficult to make them simple enough for a child to sing.

After Sarah Grace was born, while we were still in Orlando, I was reflecting on this story, and I tried to come up with other verses to Jesus Loves Me that would convey the truths of the faith in ways that children could sing. I came up with verses on the trinity, grace, and the living the christian life. For the past four years, I've been using them to sing Sarah Grace to sleep (along with a lot of other songs). And as I sang her to sleep tonight, I thought it might be nice to share them with all of you -- not because they're great literature -- far from it. I'm just letting you in on another part of how I see the true, the good, the beautiful even in a children's song:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.

God in heaven made all things
Jesus Christ salvation brings
The Holy Spirit lives in me
The three in one, the Trinity
Yes Jesus loves me....

Jesus loves me this is true
Not for anything I do
By his grace He set me free
The gift of faith He gave to me
Yes Jesus loves me...

Jesus said tell everyone
About the things that He has done
He said Love God above all else
And your neighbor as yourself
Yes Jesus loves me....

Soli Deo Gloria