A new song for Advent

So last weekend I preached on Mary’s suspicion around the angel telling her she’s ‘highly favoured’ and that God was with her. Luke 1 tells us that ‘Mary was shaken and wondered what was behind a greeting like that.’

It seemed to me that we struggle when we encounter full grown love. We immediately want to know what it wants from us! We start searching for ulterior motives. But God’s love doesn’t seem to have anything behind it.

As I said to my congregation on Sunday: God loves us because he loves us, and his love heals us and saves us, and he heals us and saves us because he loves us.

We tend to look around and say, ‘What do you want from me?’ – but it seems that God’s love is its own end, and not a means to an end. Dallas Willard writes that ‘love is to will the good of another.’ God’s love does this. It isn’t offered with strings so that we feel duty bound or obliged to reciprocate. In fact, because God doesn’t demand our love in return, we are able to make a gift of it to him: a gift that when he opens it, he doesn’t say, ‘well its about time!’, instead he opens it and says, ‘this is just what I’ve always wanted.’

Love that demands is not love. Love that manipulates is not love. Love is patient and kind, its not self serving, and it always trusts, always hopes, always protects and always perseveres (1st Cor 13). God’s love is like this.

This song, called ‘O Holy Love’ reflects on the wonder of God coming among us, and this love that defies our definitions, and woos us relentlessly. It leads us to the idea of surrender, which is embodied so beautifully in Mary’s words in Luke 1:38, ‘I’m the Lord’s servant, let it be to me as you have said.’

This Christmas, let God love you.

O Holy Love     Malcolm Gordon 2011

The love of God poured into human veins

Fleshed out in human form to feel our pain

The heart of God come down, to break for us

A life where every moment speaks of love

O Holy love, here among us

O Sacred love, born in hope, born in pain

To purest love, we surrender

And find a life all our years could not gain

A newborn love, full of truth, full of grace

The hand of God is reaching out to us

To free us from the quest to earn his love

The smile of God is beaming from his face

As pride and fear and shame give way to grace

O Holy love, here among us

O Sacred love, born in hope, born in pain

To purest love, we surrender

And find a life all our years could not gain

A newborn love, full of truth, full of grace

If you’d like a copy of this song, either the chord chart or the mp3, to use in worship this weekend, just email me at malcs@onevoice.org.nz

Update: Just had some lyrics suggested that make the 2nd verse more inclusive. Thanks Margaret Garland!
Your  hand o God is reaching out to us

To free us from the quest to earn your love

Your smile o God is beaming from your face

As pride and fear and shame give way to grace

AUTHOR: Malcolm Gordon
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