If you have sampled a handful of these iPod Devotionals you already know that my musical taste is eclectic. That is a kind word for weird. I have rock, oldies, indie, country, Christian, folk, pop and some unclassified on the device. Recently a forgotten oldie caused the neurons to fire oddly in my noggin. The song “The Book of Love” was written and recorded by The Monotones in 1958. Here are some of the lyrics.
Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who
Who wrote the Book Of Love
Chapter One says to love her
You love her with all your heart
Chapter Two you tell her you’re
Never, never, never, never, never gonna part
In Chapter Three remember the meaning of romance
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance
So there you have it. Before you get to Chapter Five you have already parted ways according to this version of the book of love. By the way, there is a little “boom” sound in the first lyric that is oddly translated “mmbadoo-ooh” above. The story goes that a kid was kicking a ball against the garage while the group was rehearsing and they thought it sounded cool. Inspiration can come for odd sources.
The part of the song that led to today’s devotional came in the first lyric. I had never noticed the reference before.
Tell me, tell me, tell me
Oh, who wrote the Book Of Love
I’ve got to know the answer
Was it someone from above?
That is a good question. I would suggest that the book of love was indeed from above. And not just from someone. The book of love is from God. It is called the Gospel. Truefaced speaker and my friend John Lynch has written a wonderfully thoughtful piece called the New Testament Gamble.
“What if I tell them who they are?” What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment or rejection”?
“What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they’ve done, as much as I love my only Son? That there’s nothing they can do to make my love go away”?
“What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep?”
“What if I tell them they are righteous, with my righteousness, right now”?
“What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me?”
“What if I tell them I’m crazy about them? What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party”?
“What if I tell them that I am their Savior, they’re going to heaven no matter what–it’s a done deal?
“What if I tell them they have a new nature–saints, not saved sinners who should now ‘buck up and be better’ if they were any kind of Christians, after all He’s done for you!”
“What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal?”
“What if I tell them that they don’t have to put on a mask? That it is OK to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk. That they don’t need to Pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much Bible they read or don’t?”
“What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get to good, the other shoe’s gonna drop?”
“What if they knew I will never, ever use the word “punish” in relation to them?”
“What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never ‘get back at them’?”
“What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me?”
“What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them?”
“What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs?”
“What if I tell them I like U2’s music too?”
“What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas hand bell deal with the white gloves?”
“What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven?”
“What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor?”
“What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them?”
John’s words summarize the miracle of grace that is the precious Gospel of Jesus. It was never really a “gamble” because God had planned this from the beginning of time. Jesus wrote the book of love on the Cross. Paul commented on that amazing story in Romans when he stated this startling truth.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5, ESV)
Could there be a more stunning book of love than that? While we were still sinners Christ died for us. I am grateful for the Gospel and for grace that makes the real book of love a reality in my life today.