Discernment

A Song About Jesus, Us and … a Sloppy Kiss?

Last night, visiting a megachurch where I once sat as a blissfully ignorant, Hell-bound false convert, I could not help but be overwhelmed. As I looked around at the massive Wednesday night crowd, I could only thank my Lord Jesus for opening my eyes and for saving me. I prayed that He would offer the same grace and mercy to some of the blind souls there that evening, especially in light of what they were about to hear.

Note: The actual purpose of my visit to this church will perhaps become evident in a future post. So, consider this an off-topic teaser.

The “worship” music played for about 25 or 30 minutes. I stood silently and observed. Noticing the people, the lights and the beat of the drum, there certainly was quite a mood created and emotions manipulated. At the start of one particular song, however, my attention turned to the song lyrics. It was clear that the regulars were quite familiar with this song, and some of my readers may be as well. Apparently it has been around for a couple of years now. Of course, you must understand that I am hopelessly “out of the loop” when it comes to contemporary “Christian” worship music. I like it that way.

The song that caught my attention was “How He Loves” by John Mark Mcmillan. Lyrics are below.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I Realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
Pre-Chorus:
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Chorus:
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Chorus

Verse 3:
Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died,
And You met me between my breaking.
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
…They want to tell me You’re cruel,
But if Stephen could sing, he’d say it’s not true, cause…

Chorus

(Source)

There is a lot to be disliked about this song, and plenty within it to elicit concern. For starters, it is about me. And you. Us. And someone loving us. We can only assume this someone is Jesus, though the song doesn’t actually say. It also does not really say why He loves us, just that He loves us. Does Jesus love  us? Well, yes. Yet, this song fails to acknowledge that you and I are nothing more than (presumably) saved sinners, and that there is nothing inherently lovable about us! Still, it was not these lines that made me gasp. No, I gasped when I heard the band sing, “So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss, And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.” 

Really? A sloppy, wet kiss? What does that even mean? Well, apparently this question has been asked before, because the writer of this song has written a blog post with the following answer:

It seems that people either hate it or love it because they think I’m some how talking about kissing God. Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words.

“HEAVEN meets EARTH like a sloppy wet kiss”

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary! (Source)

While it’s helpful to know that Mcmillan did not intend for this lyric to say that we are kissing God, the fact remains that this phrase does bring with it certain connotations.

For a moment, though, let’s look at what the writer did intend for the line to mean:

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. (Source)

It seems that Mcmillan believes people are concerned with the idea of something being “messy,” yet that is hardly my concern. What strikes me is that he has relegated the incarnation of Christ, His life, death and resurrection to a “sloppy, wet kiss.” How does this picture in any way accurately depict the reality of the story of Christ?

Further, in his explanation, Mcmillan says that God “knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome.” No. Jesus didn’t die because He thinks we’re awesome. He died out of obedience to the Father to bring glory to Him. And if we are in Christ, we still aren’t “awesome” on our own accord. No, Christ in us, Christ as our Mediator, Christ as our Substitute, He is awesome. Covered in His blood, the Father sees us as righteous. But if God looks upon us without the righteousness of Christ, well, we’re in trouble. The point is that Jesus does know our worst thoughts, He does know that we are wicked and sinful, and yet He died for us anyway. If He had died because we were so awesome, that wouldn’t be good news. But He died even though we weren’t awesome. Not even close. Now that is some good news.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

To denigrate this amazing sacrifice, this perfect work, this saving act to the picture of a “sloppy, wet kiss,” is loathsome. While it often seems that words cannot fully describe the gracious and merciful act of Christ’s atonement, surely we can do better than comparing it to something such as this.

There is much more that could be said about this “worship” song, and this line in particular. In searching for information about this tune, I stumbled across this article at the Stones Cry Out blog. It offers a very comprehensive treatment of this discussion, and I suggest taking the time to read it.
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