Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Love is This? A Prayer Of Thanksgiving Based On A Reflection On The Cross

The following is a prayer I wrote for good Friday in 2005. Just recently I re read it and reflected on it (believe it or not on Valentine's day. It does ask a question about what love is and the answer comes not as a Hallmark moment or with chocolates and flowers and candlelight dinners but rather in the midst of a horrific torture scene. Not romantic love but... God's love for us. In a way that is beyond my ability to comprehend.  People will note that it's good Friday context is also why there is not a resurrection stanza... that came with Easter Sunday.

Originally the line "what love is this?" comes from a worship song by New Zealand Band 'Form'. Which starts out as a common garden variety mass produced worship song and then in the midst of a very short chorus seems to become aware of God's presence and love and changes to a simple one line response "Glory, Glory, Glory".

Those reading this prayer will note that the last stanza is in actual fact a verse from Stuart Townsend's beautiful song "How Deep The Fathers Love For Us" ( 1995, Thank You Music)  which on the Good Friday I used it in public worship was the song we sang after this prayer.

What Love is this?

Unlooked for


Freely Given

You O God reached down into our humanity

Even into the darkness of our inhumanity

With the light of your great Love

What Love is this?

A servant


Obedient even unto death

You sent your son Jesus, who befriended the outcast

Healed the blind, the lame and cared for the poor

Taught and showed what our heavenly father is like

What Love is This?


Innocent yet condemned

Beaten and tortured

The sovereign king receives a crown of thorns

The welcoming outstretched hands nailed to a cross

 Nails through the blessed feet that bring good news

What Love is this

Gasping for breath

Excruciating pain


We thought him stricken by God, cursed

Yet it was our iniquity, our wrong doing that he bore

Through his death we have freedom and life

What love is this?

Side pieced

Buried in a tomb

Stone sealed

Beyond our ability to understand you have done it

Paid the price for us and invited us to come to you

What love is this can any grave hold it down?

What love is this?

How deep the father love for us

So rich beyond all measure

That he should give his only son

To make a wretch like me his treasure

Thank you O God for a love like this

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