“With Every Act of Love” was the last song to be written for my new record. Knowing I didn’t really have a song that felt like the lead single, I turned to N. T. Wright’s Surprised By Hope for inspiration in a writing session with my friend Jason Ingram. I enjoy the idea of taking a compelling theologian’s idea and shaping it into a pop song that might extend the idea’s reach. What follows is the essay I wrote that is included in the Special Edition of my new record.
With Every Act Of Love
A doorway placed on a set or in a scene is often a sign of new possibilities. A wall divides worlds, and the door is a portal between them, a passageway through which change can enter from one world into another.
In his book, Surprised By Hope, N. T. Wright reminds us that though we live in the world of men, the Kingdom of God is always at hand. Statements such as “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through” are meant to affirm a deeper reality beyond reality, but they may tempt us to imagine Christianity as an ideology of evacuation and abandonment.
However, the hope of the Gospel is as earthy as it is eternal, marked by a Love that pursues, engages, renews, and is fulfilled in the marriage of Heaven and Earth—when the Kingdom that was launched through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ comes to fruition in the new Jerusalem, “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev 21:2 NIV).
The hope laid out for us in Scripture is that this world will not be abandoned! It is being redeemed as part of God’s new creation. The Kingdom of God is not for “someday when” but is an eternal reality that we are invited to participate in here and now.
“Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness;” says Wright, “Every act of care and nurture, comfort and support . . . every deed that embraces holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world—all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. . . . What we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted. It will last all the way into God’s new world.”
This means that all that we do with love—whether mission work in a foreign land or doing laundry in our own home, feeding the poor or feeding our kids—advances the Kingdom of God and will last forever. Or in the words of one of my favorite songs by David Wilcox, “You will always have what you gave to love.”
The outlandish beauty of all this is that God doesn’t need us to build his Kingdom—he is God after all—but for reasons of his own, he’s decided he wants us. And in the wildness of his wisdom, and as unlikely as it seems, he has put us where we are and asked us to be a portal between worlds, a doorway through which he arrives to redeem and renew. “Amen! Come Lord Jesus!”
Watch the “With Every Act Of Love” lyric video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4bB7BUxBbY
The new album, Love Will Have The Final Word, releases next Tuesday.
Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".