Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Love is the theme, eternal theme."

Hymn: “Love Is the Theme” – Words & Music Albert C. Fisher (1886-1946)

This is a rollicking gospel song. I admit it sounds more like a skating rink song than a church-hymn. It doesn’t appear in many hymnals anymore, but it has a need-to-hear message for all of us - both as individuals and as congregants.

For today’s hymnline, I’m using the full text of the refrain:
    Love is the theme.
    Love is supreme.
    Sweeter it grows,
    Glory bestows.
    Bright as the sun,
    Ever it glows!
    Love is the theme,
    Eternal theme!

If you took out the phrase “glory bestows,” this could be a fine description of just about any kind of love, couldn’t it?

What a difference it would make in our personal lives if indeed, love were our theme – love which exhibits acceptance, grace, forgiveness… all those Jesus-qualities. What a difference it would make in our churches if love were INDEED our theme, not just some decorative addition to our mission statement or a word printed on our church letterhead.

Too many studies show that seekers are not as attracted to the preaching/teaching or the music style of a church as they are drawn to places where they feel love and un-qualified acceptance. So why don’t we listen better to those kinds of studies? I guess it’s easier to hire the best platform staff than it is to put ourselves out there in loving ways.

We’ve all had experiences like this, but while in North Carolina, Carlita and I drove to a nearby town to hear Cynthia Clawson in concert (which we are often prone to do) on a Sunday evening. We got there early and found our place in one of the pews in the beautifully-appointed sanctuary. As the church members began to arrive, it became obvious that we were in someone else’s pew. A group of about twelve people surrounded us and basically wedged us into the middle of their pew… and not one of them welcomed us or made us feel remotely loved. Would we have ventured back to that building if we had been looking for a church home? I doubt it seriously, in spite of their reputation for great preaching and music.

Another little hymn says: “Jesus was a loving teacher, helping people… know the love of God our Father, teaching them to love…” We need to stop whatever we are doing and let Jesus teach us once again to be loving by nature – to make love the REAL theme of our weekday lives and to let that theme wash over into Sunday!

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Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)