Thursday, February 20, 2014

ACE #140: The Day 'Jesus Loves Me' Went Wrong

My cousin, Nita, and I were always into some kind of mischief.  But when we weren't conjuring up something, we would fight like cats and dogs.  I mean somebody always came out injured.  We were about six months apart, but in terms of our size she was much taller and about 15 pounds heavier.  To me, it always felt like a life or death situation.

Every summer, all of my girl cousins, sister, and I would stay with my grandmother for a week - it was her vacation week.  My grandfather would leave early in the morning and return late in the evening because he couldn't take all of those women in one house at the same time.  One evening, my grandmother had enough of the bickering between me and my cousin.  So she made us stand there...hugging...tightly...while singing "Jesus Loves Me."  She would even make us sing all four verses.  Any time after that, if my cousin would even act like she wanted to go a round, I would avoid her at all cost.  I did NOT want to hug her or sing that song one more time.  (As I was typing this, I just realized why I really don't like to hug much. LOL!) I thought, How in the world could a church song go so completely wrong?

Over the years, in my capacity as the church musician, "Jesus Loves Me" is one of the first songs kids learn in the Children's Choir.  It usually serves as the morning hymn on our annual Children's Day celebration.  I just haven't appreciated what the song meant until adulthood. 

It reassures me that YES Jesus loves me...not maybe.  That's affirmation.  It tells me that if I want to find out about His love for me, I can go to the Bible.  That's direction. It also reaffirms me that in my weakness, Jesus is strong!  That's trust and protection.  This song is the profound, honest truth of God's love for me.  What timeless, traditional, classic lyrics.

Jesus loves me!
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

--Anna B. Warner, 1820 -1915

Whitney Houston version:

Children's version: