Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Song of Longing

A little over a week ago, I was flipping channels. Pausing on PBS, I heard Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson begin a familiar duet for his Stages tour. I'd heard the Phantom song "All I Ask of You" countless times since I was 10, but this was different. I don't know if it was because the captions were showing the lyrics, because of Groban's beards-ly resemblance to the American idea of Jesus, or the girl-next-door way about Kelly, but as their voices curled and wrapped around each other like fragrant smoke swirling upward, I recognized the universal longing this song described, not just for a perfect love but for an eternal home. 

Returning to our old church this year has been rehabilitating my religiously scarred and weary soul. Chapter by chapter, the church's simple Bible reading plan has been taking us through John's gospel. And as each line of the song was sung, I heard echos of this intimate and powerful testimony of Jesus and his promise of what is yet to come. It touched me more than a fill-in-the-blank Bible study or an overly repetitive contemporary praise song ever could because it tapped into my longing for real, eternal, perfect love. I think by the looks on the faces in the audience, more than one person felt this longing too. It's built into all of us. My mistake is looking so often for the fulfillment of this desire here on earth; this song points to love only Jesus can give - love that far exceeds our dreams.

 "All I Ask of You" - Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson

(Hover over the verses to see them pop up.)

No more talk of darkness (John 12:46)
Forget these wide-eyed fears (John 14:27)
I'm here, nothing can harm you (John 10:28)
My words will warm and calm you (John 5:24)

Let me be your freedom (John 8:31-32)
Let daylight dry your tears (Rev 21:4)
I'm here, with you, beside you (John 14:18)
To guard you and to guide you (John 17:12)

Say you'll love me every waking moment (John 3:16)
Turn my head with talk of summer time (Luke 21:30-31)
Say you need me with you now and always (John 17:24)
Promise me that all you say is true (John 14:6)
That's all I ask of you

Let me be your shelter (John 14:3)
Let me be your light (
John 8:12)
You're safe, no one will find you (John 10:9)
Your fears are far behind you (John 16:33)

All I want is freedom (John 8:36)
A world with no more night (Rev 22:5)
And you, always beside me (John 16:22)
To hold me and to hide me (John 10:29)

Then say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime (John 14:23)
Let me lead you from your solitude (John 15:5)
Say you want me with you here, beside you (Rev 22:17)
Anywhere you go, let me go too (John 17:20-21)

That's all I ask of you

Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime (John 6:35)
Say the word and I will follow you (John 10:27)

Share each day with me, each night, each morning (Rev 21:3)

Say you love me (1 John 4:19)
You know I do (John 15:9)

Love me, that's all I ask of you. (John 14:21)

Anywhere you go, let me go too (John 6:68-69)
Love me, that's all I ask of you 
(1 John 4:9)