Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Of Carts & Horses

A Passion for Thee

Set my heart, O dear Father, On Thee, and Thee only,
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,
Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine.

A passion for Thee; O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

Father fill with Thy Spirit, and fit me for service,
Let love for Christ ev'ry motive inspire,
Teach me to follow in selfless submission,
Be Thou my joy and my soul's one desire.

A passion for Thee; O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

~Joe Zichterman

Ever think about the words of "A Passion for Thee" above? "Hear now my prayer, Lord, thy power impart... not just to serve, but to love thee with all of my heart" Isn't that cart-before-the-horse backwards?? Shouldn't our service come second, born out of our love for Him??

I know the song is about our passion (love?) for Him, but today (when the little voices in my head sing it) it winds up sounding like "Hey Lord, my service for you is A-OK, but I prolly ought to love you more. Will ya help me with that check-mark??" I'd love to ask Joe Z... especially since he's "out" of "Fundy-ism" now.... I really like most all of the songs that I know he's written, and I've always liked this song especially. But since it was played for the offertory this morning, it's been running through my head... Then the words started sinking in & I started wondering. Things that make you go "Hmmmmmm........ " ;-)

Praying for a heart of love... all the while assuming that I already have a heart bent toward service? What's with that?? To me it seems wrong-headed Scripturally. But given what I know of Joe (he has his head on pretty straight), it behooves me to assume JZ was trying to point out this weak area in the camp not ingrain it more.

1 Corinthians 13 makes much of love/charity being the primary thing--the motivation from which our actions should spring. If the greatest command is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is like unto it--to love our neighbors as ourselves (i.e. service); wouldn't that imply that our service ought to be borne out of our love for God, rather than serving (first?) while we're praying to love Him more?

Not that there's any harm in praying for a deeper love for the Lord and a closer relationship with Him.... I suspect my hang-up is just semantics. :-D Or maybe it's hyper-sensitivity to anything about what I should be "doing" as a believer. When you've been indoctrinated by a definition of grace that includes what I do (grace is God's enabling power and desire to do His will), you start developing jerky knees.

If justification is all God's work & glorification is all God's work, why can't sanctification be (more about) God's work too???


Lori said...

Eh, I dunno....I think Z's song is fine.

Paul's whole point in I Cor 13 is that a church who seemed to have the idea of "service" down needed to grasp the concept of Love. If anything, Zichterman's song has always seemed to me to be a call away from service-oriented Christianity toward a heart that loves God first.

So I'd say that Joe and you probably agree. We might argue that his lyrics could be clearer, perhaps ... but this song is yet another example of the "hidden signposts for Grace" that sneak into Fundyism before someone catches on and throws them out. :)

The Savage said...

Eh, I dunno....I think Z's song is fine.

Yeah, that's why I let it sit so long before I posted it. Something hit me wrong that day, but I'd always liked the song before... I don't think I articulated my thoughts well... but then I rarely do at 3am, LOL.

The song makes a good and valid point--we need to have a passion for our God. And He will give it to us if we ask.

And as our AttP (Assistant to the Pastor) likes to say, "when you love someone, you want to do things for them. It's just natural. You don't look at the calendar and say 'Oh, it's time to do something for my husband today,' you just do it because you love him--you want to do things that please him."

And we love Him because He first loved us. :-)