John 3:16 NKJV
Revelation 21:4 NKJV
I do love music and looking back over the course of my life I believe the song that has had the greatest impact on me is “Jesus Loves Me”. The words and the theology of that song have helped to carry me through a few difficult times.
The words to the song were written by Anna B. Warner and they were first included in a book entitled “Say and Seal” in 1860. The book was written by Anna’s sister, Susan Bogert Warner.
The melody came from a song “China” and was written by church musician, William Bradbury and it first appeared in 1862 in Golden Shower of Sunday School Melodies. The hymn was published with words and music in 1866 in The New Golden Shower (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/history-of-hymns-jesus-loves-me).
Through the years, many people have written or changed wording found in the original song. In my opinion that is a testament to the sustainability of the message of the hymn.
I remember singing it when I was very young.
It was the first church song I taught my children to sing.
At one time or another, I have heard my grandchildren sing “Jesus Loves Me”.
Today psychologists know that we retain even our earliest memories in our subconscious mind. We may not consciously remember them, but they are still very much a part of who we are as a person. Inherently believing that Jesus/God loves us at a very early age can subconsciously be a ‘driver’ for us all the days of our lives.
In addition, music and songs impact our brain. Neuroscientist Kiminobu Sugaya and world-renowned violinist Ayako Yonetani have taught “Music and the Brain” at The Burnett Honors College at the University of Central Florida and they have found, “music impacts brain function and human behavior, including by reducing stress, pain and symptoms of depression as well as improving cognitive and motor skills, spatial-temporal learning and neurogenesis, which is the brain’s ability to produce neurons.” (https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/your-brain-on-music/)
I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that a song that reminds us that God sent His Son TO LOVES US will have a positive impact on our brain.
Remembering that Jesus Loves Me in song, can stimulate our brain all of our lives.
In addition to the song, one of the first scripture verses I memorized was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God loved us.
God sent His Son. Those who believe have life.
In my latter years (following Seminary) my theology hasn’t changed regarding eternity, but it has expanded. The theological concept of the ‘now and not yet’ helped me to think about how God views life.
Life is now. I believe and God is in me.
More life is to come. When it’s time for me to cross-over, Jesus will take my hand and I will be with Jesus eternally.
The biggest difference is that eternity has no sorrow and no pain. The Apostle John wrote in Revelation 21:4, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
I’ll have to admit that when I was young and carefree those words in Revelation didn’t have as much of an impact on me as they do today.
I remember a time when life was about having fun and playing.
I remember the first time I drove a car. I remember my first car wreck.
I remember getting married and having children. I remember the child I lost.
I remember losing a parent and all of my grandparents.
I remember the pain of divorce.
I remember losing a grandchild.
No more pain and no more sorrow take on new meaning for me today.
So does the fact that God loves me and sent His Son to die for me. Someone once told me to embrace the truth that if I’d been the only person who needed redemption, God would have sent His Son to die for me because Jesus-God loves me that much.
That made it personal
It was for me.
It was for you.
God loves you and sent His Son to die for you. If you would have been the only person who needed redemption, God would have sent His Son to die for you because He loves YOU that much. It’s personal.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Let God GET Personal
Ask God to reveal the reality of how very much He loves YOU. Listen and Wait. God will respond.
In God, Deborah