Calvin Miller is a professor in preaching and pastoral ministry at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He previously served as pastor of Westside Baptist Church, Omaha, Nebraska. Miller is also a poet, artist, novelist, and evangelist. He is the author of more than 40 books and numerous articles on religion and preaching. His most recent book is titled, Jesus Loves Me: Celebrating the Profound Truths of a Simple Hymn (Warner Books).
I don't think I have sung "Jesus Loves Me" for a long time. This morning I'm reading the lyrics and my eyes are tearing up.
I have had that kind of response all over. People say, "I picked up the book and I thought about how I first learned it or when the hymn came to me in a crisis moment." So I think it's a common experience. You can't feel the impact of the Son of God and his love without being emotionally moved.
What is it that drew you back to this familiar hymn?
A part of my personal journey is reflected in one of the chapter titles that says, "Jesus Loves Me: I Can Make It." I guess I've never been through any kind of crisis [except] when I've felt that the presence of Christ got me through it. And I really am big on the notion of walking with Christ through the crises of our lives. So I'm sure that had a part to play. But I was thinking one day how really basic and fundamental to our lives "Jesus Loves Me" is. We learn it first. And its little truths talk back to us for the rest of our lives. It just runs all through the hymn.
The second phrase in the song is "this I know." In an age of uncertainty, here's a hymn that says we can know certain things.
Yeah, and I think that it's a heart cry of this age and probably every age. But just to know that there's something ...1