As I was preparing for Bible study tonight, I decided to get out my guitar and find some songs about community and loving each other. I have about 200 songs in my worship folder (choruses and camp songs mostly). Of those, only 1 song, Bind Us Together, was clearly about loving my neighbor. Two other songs, One Tin Soldier and Love the Lord mentioned it. That’s 3 out of 200. I then looked in my CCM binder, and while the ratio was better, it wasn’t that much better.
I’m reminded of a concert I attended by a Christian musician named Wayne Watson several years back. After he performed a love song he wrote for his wife, he told a story. At the end of a concert, he was approached by a gentleman. The guy said, “That one song, it sounded like a love song.” Wayne nodded yes. The guy then asked, in a low, firm voice, “What’s that have to do with God?” Wayne answered, “Everything.”
I briefly contemplated singing some mainstream (otherwise known as secular, but I hate the term) songs for worship, so we could sing about loving each other. Can loving my neighbor be an act of worship? Isn’t loving my neighbor one of the essentially ways I show love for God? How many non-Christians write songs about loving another person? How many Christians write songs about loving other people? And when I say that, I’m including songs of romance, but not limiting it that kind of love.
I briefly contemplated singing Hold my Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish as worship. Not to be relevant, but because I recall many years ago singing it at camp with a group of friends. And as I’m thinking about it tonight, it just strikes me as odd that we, as Christians, seem so uncomfortable with the idea of songs about loving each other. We seem more comfortable with the Song of Solomon as allegory. Somehow the idea of a guy speaking loving words about his wife, publicly, sensually, is just too much for us as Christians to accept. Or maybe I’m misreading the Song of Songs…