One of the world’s best known children’s songs is “Jesus Loves Me”.

Jesus loves me this I know
For the bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

The song was originally composed for a novel, Say and Seal, published in 1860. It tells the story of a little boy, Johnny who is sick and dying. He is being rocked in the arms of his Sunday School teacher John Linden and asks John to sing him a song. John sings “Jesus Loves Me”.

The profundity of that song extends way beyond simplistic childhood faith. Karl Barth was one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century. He possessed a brilliant mind and wrote thousands of words exploring the interrelation of faith, theology and culture. Towards the end of his life Barth gave a lecture at the University of Chicago Divinity School. At the end of the lecture he was asked what he considered to be the greatest theological discovery of his life.

Everyone sat with bated breath ready for an extended and complex answer. Karl Barth paused for a moment, then smiled and said “The greatest theological insight that I have ever had is this: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

Source: Reported in Deep Cove Crier, November 1993, Reporter Interactive (umr.org) May 2001 and Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You a Story.

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