Monday, June 16, 2008

The Intimacy of Truth

I'm not usually a supporter of the repeated line in contemporary worship. It is an often over-used element in the cycle of a song, and tends to frustrate several people - in particular those who are fans of the traditional hymn, young or old in years. But there is a time when a repeat has it's place.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

Jesus felt the need to ask Peter three times "Do you love me?" Did Jesus ask that question three times so he could remind Peter to feed his sheep? Perhaps. But I'd like to think he asked that question three times because it is the very center of our walk with Christ. This simple and profound question does not have a simple answer, because the answer is one that defines us. The answer is one that cannot be taken lightly, because before we answer a serious amount of self-examination must take place.

It is said that in the time of classical music when the composer stopped using words to accompany the notes and simply asked the vocalist to sing a non-word, such as "ah" or "ooo" that this moment in the song symbolized the writer was beyond words. The emotion of what they were writing overcame them to the point of near speechlessness; they could say nothing else.

I would liken this phenomena in classical music to the usefulness of repeating something over and over again. Like a question "Do you love me?" or a the line of a song "We will never be the same". Is it to let it sink in? Eh. That's simplifying it. To drive the truth home? Sure, but we are still only scratching the surface here.

After all falls apart
he repairs he repairs

Oh the Glory of it all is:
he came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

oh he is here
for redemption from the fall
that we may live
for the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all
the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all

After night
comes the light
dawn is here
dawn is here
it’s a new day
it’s a new day
everything will change
things will never be the same
we will never be the same

-The Glory of it All by David Crowder Band

What have I been writing about for three years? Restoration. Change. With each moment of restoration there is one thing I can always count on: that I will be drawn closer to him. And that's what the occasional repeated lyric does for me. I learn more about him, I see his heart in a new way, I become more like him. That's an emotional thing... sometimes even beyond words. And in this time of worship I become able to ask myself those difficult and intimate questions, so that when I am faced with a question such as

Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?

...I know the answer. I know it deep within my soul. And I will forever be changed.


We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same

2 comments:

meredith said...

this post = amazing.

stephanie said...

Thanks :)