Day 71: The Writing Process: “This Is Love”

One of my greatest privileges at Kerith Community Church is the opportunity to write songs to help people connect with God. A while back I wrote about the process of composing a song called ‘This Is Love’. I thought I’d share it today:

We hear the words ‘I love…’ so often that they can sometimes lose a little bit of their power. From the latest film to the oldest stories, those two words can prefix so many feelings and yet, due to chronic overuse of the phrase, say so little. There are over 6 billion results on Google for the word ‘love’. We all think we know what love is. Don’t we?

I thought I did myself – with all the worldly wisdom I’ve acquired in twenty-two years on this earth (which, to clarify, isn’t much at all – no really, I’m only just a little above gormless), I often fall into the trap of thinking that I not only know love, but understand it. Then I read this:

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Wow. At this point I need to confess to something. I often tell people that ‘I love tuna’. It’s my favourite food. Ever.

How can I the same word I use to describe my penchant for canned fish also be used to describe the brutal crucifixion of the Son of God? To describe the act in which he endured, suffered and conquered the cross, along with our our sin and shame in order that we might know an eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father. This is a love that I will never fully understand, but humbly and gratefully accept. This is love.

From a songwriting perspective, the writing process began quite unusually – with the pre-chorus:

“With love so amazing you lifted the chains from the lost.
Your blood for our shame, you surrendered your life on the cross”

The rest of the song is centred around two very distinct moods; the devastation of the death of the man who was believed by a few to be the Son of God and the elation of his triumphant resurrection. The chorus is simple, but serves as a reminder to me that the word ‘love’ means much more than the person or object I tie it to. It is much better suited to the incomprehensible sacrifice of Jesus and his unfathomable grace. Hopefully, that idea has a similar impact on you. In the same chapter as the previous verse, John says something else so succinct and yet so powerful:

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) 

God, I pray that I would never forget the cross; that in one beautiful display of unthinkable love for us, you gave us hope. I pray that I will constantly be minded that this is true love. Father, I pray that I would be filled with a love that’s worthy of you. Amen.

This is Love

You came to this world,
Our Heavenly King
Who took human form
And carried our sin

With love so amazing You lifted the chains from the lost
Your blood for our shame, You surrendered Your life on the cross

Denied and betrayed
Beaten and mocked
Tortured and crucified
Forsaken by God

With love so amazing You lifted the chains from the lost
Your blood for our shame, You surrendered Your life on the cross

This is love!

You rose from the grave
Victorious King!
Your beautiful sacrifice
Conquered our sin

With love so amazing You lifted the chains from the lost
Your blood for our shame, You surrendered Your life on the cross

This is Love!

Jesus Christ, You gave Your life for us
For us, This is love!

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