Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Teach Me to Love

In my last post I shared a good poem with good theology (“Safe Within Your Arms”). This entry has some very good theology, but I would not hold up John W. Peterson’s text, “Teach Me to Love” as good poetry. To be quite honest, as poems go, it’s borderline awful.

Why am I sharing it, then? I have two answers. The first (and the most uncomfortable) is that I was running out of time on Wednesday and didn’t want my choir to have a blank page where they were used to having something to read. The second answer is that, though the poetry be not so great (the awkward sentence structure alone … forced for the sake of rhyme … makes it difficult to read), the Biblical truths of Christian love still speak very clearly.

Teach me to love -- this is my prayer,
May the compassion of Thy heart I share;
Ready a cup of water to give,
May I unselfishly for others live.
To cheerless lives and bleak,
But kindness I would speak,
The good of all I’d seek,
And when I’m wronged by others,
Help me to smile and turn the cheek.

So in my heart Thy goodness prove,
As Thou hast loved, O Lord, teach me to love!

Teach me to love – this is my plea,
May all the Spirit’s graces shine through me;
Tear from my heart hate, foolish pride,
Teach me to live like Christ, the Crucified.
Help me to counteract,
With wise restraint and tact,
The thoughtless word or act,
And when I hear dark rumors
Not pass on as truth or fact.

So in my heart Thy goodness prove,
As Thou hast loved, O Lord, teach me to love!

Jesus said that the thing that will show that we belong to Him is how we love one another. This, then, is a worthy prayer. That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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