Sorry, I'm embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, but I haven't liked that song since I was about 6 years old. Too simple, too boring, too childish...growing up it seemed like a song that only young children should sing, but oh no - Sunday after Sunday someone asks for it and we sing it. I sing by rote, not even thinking about the words because I've heard it so often.
Then along comes Rory. Rory loves to fall asleep with someone singing to him. Even at a few months old, he would make a humming noise if no one was singing to him when he wanted to take a nap. When his mommy begins singing he especially loves it when she sings her favorite hymns, although he seems to enjoy all different styles of music.
When Rory was 3 months old, he began to spend Tuesdays with me so Lisa could return to work. He is easy to take care of and he loves to fall asleep while we rock on the front porch swing and I sing him my limited repertoire of songs. My standard songs for children and grandchildren have always been "You Are My Sunshine", "Hush, Little Baby" and "K K K Katie". But since Lisa told me Rory really settles down with hymns I tried "Amazing Grace" and finally settled on one song I know all the words to: "Jesus Loves Me".
Hmmm, it actually doesn't sound boring when I change the words to "Yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory - the Bible tells us so". Rory has heard this song every Tuesday for the past 5 months and he falls asleep to it every time.
A few weeks ago in church Rory was getting fussy and was being passed from grandparent to aunt to cousin to parent to grandparent...then he got to me. I put my mouth against his ear and started whispering "Jesus loves me this I know...." Rory froze - no movement, no sound for a few seconds then he put his head down on my shoulder and listened to me whisper the whole song to him while he fell asleep. It was a magic moment.
We spend one Sunday each month bringing a worship service to elderly residents in an assisted living center and "Jesus Loves Me" is the one song that everyone knows and wants to sing. They remember all the words and they sing with joy. I think it's possible that, once upon a time, these dear people were rocked to sleep while their grandmothers sang "Jesus Loves Me".
Suddenly I don't hate this song anymore.