Divine Love vs. Romantic Love
This past weekend I was mowing the lawn and had my ipod on shuffle as I walked back and forth across the yard. Normally I’d prefer to let the drone of the mower help my thoughts escape, but for some reason I decided this time to listen to music. So, I put my headphones in, pulled the cord for the mower to start, and pressed play with no particular style of music or song choice in mind. What I ended up hearing was a mixture of songs we’d consider worship and songs we’d consider love songs. Most of these were by Christian artists, who I love and respect, but at the same moment none of the worship songs (that I can remember) were written by the same artists who wrote the love songs I heard, and vice versa.
I do not have a problem with this, but I did notice something: most times musicians will either write love songs or worship songs, but there is rarely ever a mixture of the two. I rarely ever hear an artist sing about Jesus in one song, and then about his future wife in the next; I scarcely hear songs that reflect a love of the divine alongside songs speaking of a love for someone of the opposite sex. “Why is that?” was my thought. Aren’t these love songs a reflection of the love God gave to us? Isn’t romantic love an intricate part of who God made us to be and a structure created that others might see how Christ loved the Church? Why are we so afraid to sing about Christ in the same breath as singing a love song? Are we ashamed of Christ or afraid of losing ratings when we sing about him? Is there a way to biblically integrate the two?
These questions kept coming into my mind and I wondered why it is that we do this. I wondered why I have a playlist for worship songs and a playlist for love songs on my computer. I wondered why I myself, as an artist, have a harder time writing worship songs than I do writing songs about past and current relationships. I began to wonder how I could write from both camps of thought and not put the love of a person over the love of the divine.
There is a line from Gungor’s song ‘You are the Beauty’ that has challenged this thought within me:
Breath and sex and sight
All things made for good in love divine
This is one of the boldest lines I’ve seen from within ‘Christian Music’. Throwing the word ‘sex’ into a song is such a risky move in when it comes to writing songs that mostly Christians will cling too. But that is why I so often love Gungor. They understand that Christianity isn’t just about how we worship God individually, but its about how we worship God together. Its not just about how we worship God through our love for Him, but its how we worship God through how we love each other. Worshiping God isn’t just about how we praise him on a given day of the week, but about how we worship him throughout the whole of our story. Relationships, dating, marriage, sex, and romantic love all have a part in that story (at least for most of us).
The way we worship Christ should be an intricate part of our relationships and how we sing about them. He is the thing that holds our relationships together. He is the example of our love. We shouldn’t shy away from Christ for the sake of love, but cling to Christ as the core of our love. Our love for Him should cause us to want to praise Him in the midst of our romance and intimacy. It should cause us to want to pray together, study together, and learn together. Our love for God cannot be absent in our romance.
And so the question resurfaces: Is it ok for us to sing both about our love of divine love and romantic love?
Yes, but we must never let romantic love overshadow our love of the Divine. Romantic love is a reflection of God’s sacrifice, loyalty, care, and unconditional love and so yes, I think we must sing about it. Just as we must sing about our love for our Savior in the midst of our love for another. We must learn not to be afraid of singing of either of these things.
We must not be afraid to tell the whole of our stories because it is the whole of a story that inspires us the most.
Persistently pursuing a relationship with a girl reminds us of a God of pursuit and that he is constantly pursuing us. Planning a romantic evening for two reminds us that Christ desires intimacy and authenticity with us. Proposing on one knee, in the rain, reminds us that Christ stepped down into humanity that His Bride might accept His invitation for forgiveness. A man waiting at the end of the aisle reminds us that Christ is desperately waiting for us to return to Him. The exchanging of vows reminds us of God’s unconditional promises for those of us who believe. Having children reminds us that God is our loving Father and cares for us deeply. Staying together through the hard times in life reminds us that God will never leave us or forsake us. 50 years of marriage inspires us to remember that God has never failed us, and never will.
From my understanding how we live is how we worship, and so Christ cannot be missing from our life. Our love for Him should be told with every waking breath, every thought we think, and every move we make. He is a part of our story, and that is something we must never forget as we learn to tell the story we’ve been given.