My friend Nancy’s email about music made me think about the simple children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.” Although my mom couldn’t communicate much during the last years of her life, she could still sing, and the old hymns and Christian songs were favorites. Jesus Loves Me always brought tears to her eyes. My husband and I had a good Christian friend who asked that this song be sung at his funeral. I think he felt its’ simple message captured the essence of his faith. He’s not the only person who ever felt this way. Karl Barth, a Swiss Reformed minister, who was know as one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century was once asked to summarize all the words he had written about theology. His answer?
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The words of this song were first published in a novel entitled See and Seal by Anna And Susan Warner. In the story a young boy named Johnny is dying. His Sunday School teacher comforts him by making up this little song. The novel became a best seller in the 186o’s, and the song, set to music by William Bradbury, became the best-known children’s hymn of all time.