reckless love

Yep – I wrote a song – a congregational, for churches to sing. I thought I’d tell you the story behind it.

One of the best books I’ve ever read is Prodigal God by Tim Keller (read Simon’s review here, or visit the official website here). It’s a book that looks in detail at ‘the Parable of the Prodigal Sons’, and the two parables right before it (in Luke 15). This famous passage that was so familiar to me, as it turns out, is one I’d almost missed the meaning of entirely. I’ll share just a little bit with you.

All three of the parables are directed at the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, who are upset that Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

In the first parable, when the man loses 1 of his 100 sheep, he leaves the other 99 behind until he finds the lost one. When he finds it, he throws a party, saying, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”

In the second parable, when the woman loses 1 of her 10 silver coins, she turns the house upside down until she finds it. When she finds it, she throws a party, saying, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.”

Jesus tells us that both the first and the second parable illustrate what happens in heaven – with God and the angels – when one sinner is saved. It’s a precious picture. But it’s also a picture of what the Pharisees and teachers of the law AREN’T doing – they’re not concerned about those who are lost. They’re not seeking to save them. In fact, they’re angry that Jesus IS seeking to save the lost.

In the third parable though, it’s a different story. When the younger son becomes lost, nobody goes after him. Nobody goes to find him. According to the culture of the time, it should’ve been the older brother who went after him. The older brother should’ve gone to find him. But he didn’t. It’s a picture of the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

As you know already, the younger son eventually decides to come home (he gets sick of pig food – must’ve been trying to avoid swine flu…). He’s worried about what will happen when he gets there – he knows his father has already sold half his estate (!!!), and he’s wasted it all in reckless living. He knows he’s brought shame to his fathers name, and doesn’t even deserve to be his slave. But here’s what happens next: “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Then, of course, he throws an extravagent party, because his lost son has been found. It’s an incredibly precious picture.

The older son – the picture of the Pharisees and teachers of the law – is angry though. He can’t believe this ‘sinner’ of a younger son is being shown so much favour. He continues in failing to be the older brother he should be, and it’s his turn to bring shame to his father by not joining in the party. The third parable ends without the older brother repenting. I wonder if the Pharisees and teachers of the law ‘got it’.

What’s this got to do with us? Like the sheep, the coin, and the younger brother, we’re all lost. We’re away from God the Father and we need to be saved. But who will find us? Who will search for us? As it turns out, we DO have an Older Brother who sought us and saved us: Jesus. Jesus is our Older Brother who left his home – heaven – to bring us back into the home of his Father. And the Father, despite having given so much of himself up already, welcomes us with deep compassion. He didn’t just give up half his estate to find us – he gave the life of his Son to show us his love.

In the end, it turns out that God is the reckless one. He spent absolutely everything – even the life of his Son – to save us. That’s reckless love.

[audio:http://www.scpc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/reckless_love.mp3|titles=reckless love]

reckless love <– right click here to download

When I was lost, you found me
When I was gone, you came for me
When I was distant, you sought me
When I was unloved, you loved me

Before I returned, you ran to me
Before I confessed, you embraced me
Before I was clean, you enrobed me
Before I loved you, you loved me

Your compassion cannot be fathomed
That though I’m unclean and defiled
You adorn me with love unimagined
And recklessly call me your child

Despite how I fail, you’re still good to me
Despite how I stray, you never leave me
Despite my black heart, you still forgive me
Despite my failed love, you still love me

Your compassion cannot be fathomed
That though I’m unclean and defiled
You adorn me with love unimagined
And recklessly call me your child

Now I’m alive, there’s great rejoicing
Now that I’m found, angels sing for me
Now in your arms, I know you’ll carry me
Now I’m your child, I’m loved eternally

Your compassion cannot be fathomed
That though I’m unclean and defiled
You adorn me with love unimagined
And recklessly call me your child

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6 comments on “reckless love
  1. Jillian says:

    Fantastic, Peter!! Such wonderful words about such a wonderful God.

    I look forward to the album…

  2. Malvina says:

    Beautiful, Peter. Reckless love, and a forgiveness that doesn’t hestitate or wait until God ‘feels’ like it, it’s instant. We can all learn from that.

  3. Trevoltz says:

    Hey Pete good song, but I am wondering if you didn’t know the story behind it would you know what its all about? For me its who is the “you” it could be anyone or anything.
    Don’t get me wrong it is a great sounding song. Its just a thought.

  4. peter y says:

    Thanks jill – and from mum’s (malvina’s) comment it looks like she’s ready to be the financial backer for my first album…

    And thanks Trev – good thoughts there. You’re right – there’s nowhere in the song that actually says that the ‘you’ being sung about is God. In fact, when I sung the song for my singing teacher the other night, she said some of the lines describe exactly how she feels about her new boyfriend! But I would hope that – since it’s a congregational song, and remembering the context of it being sung within a church service – it would become clear that the ‘you’ is indeed God. I’d hope that, especially by the time you get to the final verse about angels singing in heaven and being loved eternally, people would be able to figure out it’s about God, and not their boyfriend.

  5. Steve Cree says:

    Loved it the first time I heard it and haven’t stopped loving it. And praying there’ll me many more songs from your pen and gift and heart about our great God in years to come…

  6. Anita White says:

    Hi Peter, I just finished reading Prodigal God last Friday and absolutely loved it. It had never really occured to me that the elder brother was just as lost as the younger one, as the focus in talks I have heard before the focus has always been on the younger brothers sin and restoration, but after reading the book it makes so much sense. It really is such a fresh and relevant viewpoint for a problem that is still so prominent today (ie pharisaical thinking). Thank God for great teachers of Gods Word who are gifted to so clearly discern, explain and challenge us in ways we would never comtemplate (just like Steve-we are so going to miss you!). Also, I loved your song and you performed it well, knowing the inspiration behind it just makes it even better, good on you for continuing to use the gifts God’s given you and “hear, hear” to what Steve said.

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