At church Sunday we sang one of my favorite songs.
It is called “How He Loves” by the David Crowder Band.
Of course, if you know the song and have a mother who was the organist for a Southern Baptist Church since before you were born, you know that the song is reminiscent of a great hymn by Kurt Kaiser called “Oh How He Loves You and Me.”
If you pay any attention to Christian music – even if you mother wasn’t an organist – you know that John Michael McMillan wrote “How He Loves” after several of his friends were in a serious accident and one good friend died.
“I needed those words, this conversation with God, “McMillan said of the lyrics. “In my anger, my resentment and frustration, God can still love me through that and he wasn’t offended by my feelings.”
Crowder changed a line of that song so churches could sing it without offending church members who find that line more illicit than it is. He changed “sloppy wet kiss” to “unforeseen kiss.”
I have been in enough church hallways to know that the change was probably a good idea and despite what my wife thinks, it doesn’t make me mad when our church sings the Crowder lyrics. I still sing McMillan’s because I love the picture they paint.
I have argued this point around family dinner tables, on Facebook and at work.
That line is not offensive. It is a very distinct word picture of how God loves us.
The line says, “So Heaven met earth like a sloppy wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us.”
That sloppy wet kiss is something I can really relate to right now.
I hope God forgives Joel Osteen for preaching to millions that if they do what God says that life will be peachy and you'll have more money than you can count.
If it weren't for the Bible and testimony of every Christian, that might make sense.
My dad is one of the best people I know. He's only about 5'8" and I know I'll never measure up. He takes care of people. He spends time make life better for the least of these.
He is the one who takes care of others. Now my mom and brother are taking care of him.
Thanks to what appears to be encephalitis, his arms and legs are shaking and too weak to use. His mind is clouded and he is scared that his time is coming to an end.
Trust me, when a man who was cleaning buildings, volunteering at a soup kitchen and playing with his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids on vacation just a few weeks ago becomes unable to walk down a hallway in less than 30 minutes, it scares all of us.
Watching him struggle and suffer is tough.
Dad loves God and it shows in how he lives his life. But life isn't peachy right now.
Does that mean God is unjust? Of course not.
God has a plan and dad is right in the middle of it right now. Good news or bad news, God is still good and our faith is still secure.
But that relationship with God is not just an unforeseen kiss. Sometimes it is sloppy. Jesus' path to securing our salvation was messy and difficult.
Should we really expect our path following him to be any different? In 1 Peter 4:12, the Bible says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
I am not offended by the image that God stretching his perfect arms down to hug a broken world would lead to a sloppy wet kiss.
It isn't sensual. It is just imagery that describes God’s love for us even during the toughest times.
We aren’t promised an easy life of health and wealth. Jesus didn’t have that. His closest disciples didn’t either.
What we all share is being the target of God’s love despite our current situations.
Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.