Although John Mark McMillan’s song “How He Loves” has become pretty standard fare in churches over the past couple of years, I haven’t introduced it into our church’s lineup yet. Until now. I’ve been listening to that song a lot over the past couple weeks and I think it’s become one of my current favorite worship texts, and will probably be rolling it out before long for our congregation.
The main reason for my sudden connection with it? My daughter has started giving me sloppy wet kisses.
For those that aren’t familiar with it, there’s a line in the song that talks about heaven meeting earth “like a sloppy wet kiss”. Now apparently there has been some controversy regarding this line. While most churches I know of wouldn’t even blink about a line like that, some have re-written it to be “safer”, and some churches have even banned the song altogether (Stuff Christians Like has a brilliantly hilarious piece about this very subject here).
But I love it. Because I can relate to it. As a daddy, there are few things more exhilarating than getting home from work and having my almost two-year-old daughter run up and plant a big wet one on me as I scoop her up. It’s kind of messy. It’s undignified. But it’s beautiful, and that sloppy wet kiss is a pure expression of love. And experiencing the type of love she has for me in that way has given me new perspective on the extravagant love our Heavenly Father has for each of us. The line in the song exquisitely describes what happens when humanity and divinity collide. In JMM’s own words, “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.” The idea that the God who created heaven and earth would have passionate love for me is almost absurd in its silliness. Yet that’s at the center of our faith – God loved us SO MUCH that he became flesh, dwelt among us and died a messy death all so that he could rise again and share His resurrection life with us. Sloppy, yes – but a purer expression of love has never existed.
Besides the song’s unique poetry and creative lyrics, I love how simple yet profound the chorus is. The hook is God-centered, anthemic and singable – all things I love in a corporate worship song. But perhaps most importantly, we as the Church and as individuals simply need to be reminded over and over again “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)