I’m a little bit embarrassed this morning.
You see, I went on and on about how much I love yesterday’s hymn, and then I turn the page and realize not only do I not know the next one, I’m not sure I ever gave it a second glance. There it sits, in the shadow of the Fire of Commitment, just waiting for me to notice it, it’s first line telling me it’s willing to wait.
Like love does, I guess.
I forget that while I might feel embarrassment, love feels no judgment, throws no shade. It just waits for us. It is patient and kind. And still, I’m a bit embarrassed that I regularly preach a piece on I Corinthians 13 (the famous love passage from the letters of Paul) and have somehow completely ignored this hymn, which would an absolutely perfect part of that liturgy.
It’s a shame, because it’s beautiful. The tune, by Methodist hymn composer Daniel Charles Damon, harkens back to the old shape note songs I wrote so fondly about when singing through Singing the Living Tradition.
Love knocks and waits for us to hear, to open and invite;
Love longs to quiet every fear, and seeks to set things right.
Love offers life, in spite of foes who threaten and condemn;
embracing enemies, Love goes the second mile with them.
Love comes to heal the broken heart, to ease the troubled mind;
without a word Love bids us start to ask and seek and find.
Love knocks and enters at the sound of welcome from within;
Love sings and dances all around, and feels new life begin.
According to Hymnary, the lyrics are inspired by several psalms, the Song of Solomon, the gospel of Matthew, and the book of Revelation. It’s that last bit that gives the hymn its opening metaphor; Revelation 3:20 says
Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
Love just needs an invitation. I think we forget that in all of our talk about love. We forget that whether we are looking for more love, answering the call of love, giving songs of love, letting love guide us, or rejoicing in love… love doesn’t barge in. We have to invite it in.
Yeah. That’ll preach.