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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Loves Me’

Many years ago (about twenty-one actually), I experienced one of those times where I felt confident that I was God’s hands and feet.

I was very pregnant with our our eldest daughter, and working in a group home for disabled adults.

There were five adults living in the home, ranging from about nineteen years of age to over fifty. One had regular visits by her grandmother … I never met family members of any of the others. Four of them had lived much of their lives in institutions, and this intimate home setting would be the closest to ‘family’ that they ever experienced.

I loved my job in this house, with these people.

There was the woman who loved to snuggle up beside anyone on the couch.

There was the woman who loved to grab tightly to hair … I think it was her way of having control, after all we picked her clothes for her each day!

There was the man who regularly stripped off his clothes … from the waist down … when guests were in the house!

There was the man who loved practical jokes … like the time he reached up to pinch the bottom of the lady in a line, just as a staff member stepped in front of him, and when she turned to deal with whoever was touching her behind, it was the staff member, not the jovial client who she faced.

Then there was Carmelita.

Carmelita, the first person I met when I came to the house for my job interview. She yelled at me … loudly. I was told, after I got the job, that they used her as the first line of deciding who to hire, by watching interviewees reactions to her.

Carmelita, or Carm, was a lady in her late forties, born with Down’s Syndrome (Trisomy 21). She loved gaudy jewelry, all food, and babies. When I met her she was also dealing with the effects of the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. She was often crying or yelling.

I remember the day I said, “Carm, you look so happy today” and she shook her fist at me, while giving me the nastiest face.

I also remember, like it was yesterday, the night I worked at the home, alone.

All of the clients were sleeping, except for Carmelita, who was in and out of crying fits. It nearly broke my heart.

Despite holding her hand, and saying soothing things, nothing seemed to allow me to penetrate the misery that she was experiencing.

Finally, I started to sing (I am NOT a good singer … ask my family) Jesus Loves Me, as I sat on the side of her bed, holding her hand. But, it was in the middle of the night, and I was exhausted.

As I sang, “Yes, Jesus Loves …” I yawned, mid verse.

Without skipping a beat, Carm abruptly stopped crying, and sang with absolute clarity, “me” to finish the verse.

Then, we sang a bit more, together. After which she fell asleep.

The next day, as I was recouping the sleep I had lost that previous night, I was awakened by my hubby, who told me that Carmelita had never awakened that morning, and that she had died.

To know that our shared song, of the most theologically relevant message, would be the last Earthly experience she would have, allowed me to feel that I was being the very hands and feet … and even really bad singing voice, of God.

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Today our first born turns twenty! Seriously, I am too young to have a twenty year old!

As her birthday was approaching, my mind has been occupied with thoughts of what to ‘get’ her for her special day. She is on the East Coast, and I on the West, and so whatever I was to get had to be light (and therefore cheap) to send in the mail.

I also was thinking about how we often give the gifts to others, that we wish to be given to us. So, I pondered what my daughter has given me over the years, and that was the key to one of her gifts. Every year she makes a CD of music I love (or music she thinks I should love) for me, and it is simply a perfect gift for me. I love the mystery of hearing what songs she chooses for me, and it is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

And so, this is my CD to her.

The first song I can remember sharing with you would be Jesus Loves Me. It is the song that each of you kids learned, and hearing that innocent, joyful singing of such profound truth is what I pray is permanently imprinted into your mind, and onto your heart.

Thanks also to Robert Munch, and his book by the same name as the song; love you forever . It was a book that we shared snuggling in bed in the mornings, over mac and cheese, at lunchtime, or at the end of the day, with the scent of Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo drifting through the air.

We cannot forget those YEARS of watching many various musical movies, the most memorable would have to be Follow Your Heart from Thumbelina. Oh how the songs of that movie played over and over in my head, day after day, and week after week. Having just listened to it again, I am reminded that it’s message was and is still a good one!

The preteen years continued with the musicals, but none could compare with Anne of Green Gables to give us “lots of scope for the imagination.” But not every song was from a musical … Oh how I remember the song that gave us all “a funny feeling” by that group called Jump 5, Spinnin’ Around. Your dad even drove you two hours from home to attend a concert … now that’s love (and beautiful memories I am sure)!

Into your teen years, the musicals continued, with The Sound of Music being a favorite, and within it’s soundtrack, what teen girl would not want to sing along to Sixteen Going on Seventeen? I think it was sung as much by me as you!

But your teen years were not only about classic movies! A favorite for years was that James Blunt classic, You’re Beautiful. I, who never win anything, was even so lucky to win two tickets to his concert, and off we went, together (one of my favorite memories of us two). This song, I would say was the theme song for you and I during those later teen years. One of my best memories (of parental embarrassment for the laughter of my child) was standing on our front lawn singing it to you, from the top of my lungs. And, my dear, you know only too well that my public singing should be relegated to large crowds only.

And this would not be complete with the Criminal Minds Theme our TV show still (well, when I can stay awake to watch it). That show has provided the foundation of so many great conversations. And of course, the one we do not share, but when I hear it I think of you (and your best friend), Dancing With The Stars.

The most recent addition to our musical history together relates to this season you are now in, and the adventure you are now on. The message of As It Seems is the same as it was a few weeks ago, maybe with even more significance …

There are so many more, and I’ve included a few at the bottom, you know the stories behind them all. These, my adult daughter, are from the Soundtrack of our life together … I think we make beautiful music.

You’re beautiful, it’s true!

Mom

What a Wonderful World

God So Loved

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Titanic Theme

The Hockey Song

Gilmore Girls

Just the Way You Are

Human

On the Floor

The Best Day

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I often find that Christian theologians can be so … boring.

It is not their subject matter so much as their language, their … wordiness, their dissection of portions of scripture in a manner that both confuses my brain, and makes me want to take a nap … a long nap.

I am no theologian, and yet, as a believer in the triune god … father, son and holy spirit. I believe in the virgin birth, and the resurrection. There is much that I would call gray matter, but there is also much that is definitive … that is, black and white. And, if I were asked, what do you believe to be the most important theological principle to stand on, my response would be quick and confident, and would mirror the response of theologian Karl Barth (believed to be the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas), “Jesus love me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.

A childhood Sunday School song, with the most valuable message. Something written and presented so simply that even children (the least of these) could share in and understand. Something so deep and so packed with the gospel message that theologians have yet to unpack all that it presents to us.

Written over one hundred and fifty years ago, by Anna B. Warner (verse 1) and David R. McGuire (verses 2-3), and William B. Bradbury is credited for it’s musical score and refrain.

It is the first song I remember learning, as a child, and the first that I taught our three children. I remember clearly how, as each child had mastered the first verse, I would telephone my God-loving grandmother, to allow her to hear them sing the song that she had shared with me. Our youngest sang for her just weeks before she was face to face with the center of this songs words. My intent in teaching our children this song, was (and is) that if it can be woven into the framework of their being, they might always know throughout their lives that:
-they are loved
-the Bible confirms it
-they need Jesus
-He will be their strength when they have none
-they are loved by the one willing to sacrifice all for them
-they are loved by the one who will not stop loving them

If my children can grow up knowing that Jesus loves them, then I can leave this life in the confidence that they have a most firm (and not at all boring) foundation.

  1. Jesus loves me! This I know,
    For the Bible tells me so;
    Little ones to Him belong;
    They are weak, but He is strong:
  2. Refrain:Yes, Jesus loves me!
    • Yes, Jesus loves me!
      Yes, Jesus loves me!
      The Bible tells me so.
  3. Jesus loves me! This I know,
    As He loved so long ago,
    Taking children on His knee,
    Saying, “Let them come to Me.”
  4. Jesus loves me still today,
    Walking with me on my way,
    Wanting as a friend to give
    Light and love to all who live.
  5. Jesus loves me! He who died
    Heaven’s gate to open wide;
    He will wash away my sin,
    Let His little child come in.
  6. Jesus loves me! He will stay
    Close beside me all the way;
    Thou hast bled and died for me,
    I will henceforth live for Thee.

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