Matthew J. Eldred
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:20b
In June 2005 when I first listened to the X&Y album by Coldplay I didn’t expect to find Christ. But there he was in the eighth song of the album. The song, A Message, took me from that hot summer day to the season of Lent. The lyrics begin my song is love, love to the loveless shown. At those words I immediately knew that the song was borrowing from one of my favorite Lenten hymns, My Song is Love Unknown.
That hymn, written in 1664 by Samuel Crossman, describes someone marveling at the love to the loveless shown by Christ in his death that they might lovely be. In other words, we undeservedly are saved by Christ’s sacrifice given in grace. The hymn ends considering what our response to this incredible gift should be. The last lyric suggests that we should stay and sing because this is my friend in whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend. Similarly, Coldplay ends its song with: On a platform I’m gonna stand and say that I’m nothing on my own…my song is love, is love unknown and I’ve got to get that message home. Receiving and marveling in the gift is not enough. We must share the good news!
I love when I find Christian themes and ideas hidden in ordinary places, including popular music. Finding Christ in the trappings of my modern day life reminds me that my faith isn’t something stale. In 1664 or 2005, Christ’s love is modern, relevant, and often in the most unexpected places when only I open my senses to receive him.
As we contemplate this astonishing gift of grace this week, I pray that we ask that God opens our human senses to be present wherever he is in a prayer, in a friend, in a song. May we receive the gift with clear eyes, heart, and mind. And ultimately, a week from now, in the Easter glow, let us be strengthened to stand and say that we’re nothing on our own, our song is love unknown, and we can’t hold it in. We’ve got to get that message home.