As a first installment to the Emergent Christian Lexicon blog series, I was guided to take inspiration from one of my favorite worship songs, Reckless Love, and take a look at some of the lyrics which I feel can be understood from varying points of view.
Once you give the song a first listen through, it at first seems to be a very moving, a very powerful Christian worship song. The primary theme is the goodness of God; as a creator, as a Father, and as an infinitely abundant well of Love and Forgiveness.
The first part of the song I would like to take a closer look at is the chorus, where a line jumps out at me as being counter-intuitive to the rest of the song. I will share the entire chorus and highlight the specific line.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
The line previous to the one which is highlighted is a reference to Luke 15 – The Parable of the Sheep. In this story, Jesus is highlighting his mission as being one for the sinner, rather than for the saint. He is more interested in helping the ones going through a hard time [lost in sin?] then to remain in the company of those who would be righteous.
The next line clearly pulls on some mainstream idea’s surrounding humanities ‘worthiness’, implying an inherent ‘brokenness’ which makes us ineligible for Gods never ending love (which he gives to us anyways).
I am reminded of a quote by Joyce Meyer which reads;
“God doesn’t Love us because we are good. He loves us because He is Good.”
I am not going to argue the point that humanity is far from a perfect reflection of God’s creation. We are in potential and Reality, and every reason and resource for that potential to be realized has been given us, but in most cases, the human being is broken, afraid, and very lost.
This temporary [and unreal] condition is not inherent to us, but instead is a byproduct of the human enterprise. That is to say, our “brokenness” stems from the sin[error] in our lives that goes unhealed and that we inevitably reproduce in the lives of those around us in some fashion.
If we were inherently broken [sinful], then perhaps we could question whether or not we deserve God’s Love. However, if we shift a few degrees, and see instead that our sinfulness is not inherent to What we are but instead is a consequence of error and ignorance, then it becomes;
We do deserve Gods Love, and REALIZING this is how we heal our brokenness and bring an end to our sinful [erroneous] lives.
In this light, we no longer have this huge boulder blocking our path (see what I did there?), and are open to embracing all of our Heavenly Father’s Love and Light into our hearts and minds.
The idea that we can’t earn Gods love is clear enough. Its beyond anything we can imagine, and is already freely given in FULL, so no qualms there.
The next line I’d like to take a look at is the following;
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me
How could we be God’s foe?
Well, in truth, we can’t. Though we can believe we are. You see, if we are living a life of sin [a life built on error and insanity], then we are positioned in opposition to Gods Will (which as Jesus reminds us several times throughout the Bible, is perfect love and perfect peace).
For me, this line is highlighting that regardless of what we believe or how we may choose to lead our lives, Gods is always for us. No matter how dark it may get, or how deep into illusion and error we may fall, the Love of God is never-ending (which is why its reckless).
Then we have a line which hits on the idea that God (in the form of Jesus, God’s one and only son), paid a huge debt for humanity so that we may have the opportunity to lead lives with Gods Love at our backs.
Now, this gets a tad bit tricky because we are not merely dealing with an idea that can have multiple perspectives. This is one of the corner-stones of the Christian Faith. This part of the story is important, but I feel resonates on the level of a mythic narrative rather than metaphysical or spiritual fact. The essence of Emergence is to carry the torch of change, discovery, and growth. So here goes…
If we can shift degree’s (a tad more than before) and instead see the life of Jesus as being more than the fulfillment of prophecy (as the beginnings of the story is laid out in the Torah), more then the paying of a debt (as it is thought to have been in more modern interpretations of scripture), and more then just a story with no actual legitimacy (as modern, secular schools of thought would posit), and perhaps include the idea that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.
Take it a step further, and accept that every single one of us share this seemingly dual nature (a nature not at odd’s with itself, but purposefully designed to make all things Good. See Genesis 1).
Jesus then becomes more than a mythical figure, but a wayshower. His life becomes a demonstration of how to transcend our “brokenness” or sinful ways, and embrace the Reality of God’s never-ending Love and his Will for us to know this Love fully and completely.
Then what debt did Jesus pay?
Well, in one sense, his decision to die on the cross was far more then mere martyrdom but was a demonstration of Gods Love, that even as he was being murdered, he had forgiveness and love for his accusers (a major theme found throughout his ministry).
And if we enlarge the meaning of debt, we can see how Jesus offering his life for humanities sake was his recognition of our inherent worthiness of Gods Love, which he knew perfectly.
Embracing an Emergent Jesus
The purpose of this blog is to offer fresh new idea’s to the narrative of the bible, the story of Jesus, and the part we play in all of it. It is no secret that humanity is in dire need of healing, of both our hearts and minds, and history has taught us that if we refuse to grow and evolve, then we tend to repeat the mistakes of the past.
There may be some triggers set off through what I am sharing here, and thats fine. I know all to intimately what being triggered is like, however, it has been my experience that as continue to remain open what is possible and receptive to new ideas, there is nothing the Light of Christ does not touch.