A 2005 song from Chris Martin (Coldplay) contains these lyrics:
My song is love
Love to the loveless shown
And it goes up
You don't have to be alone ...
My song is love, unknown
But I'm on fire for you, clearly...
You're the target I'm aiming at
And I'm nothing on my own
Got to get that message home ...
A 1664 hymn by Samuel Crossman contains these lyrics:
My song is love unknown
My Saviour's love for me;
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
But who am I, that for my sake.
My Lord should take take frail flesh and die?
I stumbled across this combo as I was picking the hymn (wanting to fit into the mantra of 'teaching people a new song'!) for community worship at Carey this week. I haven't investigated this too deeply but Chris must have known about Sam - particularly when the two tunes are so hauntingly similar as well! However it is the comparisons between the two complete sets of lyrics that has captured me. Let me open this up a bit and invite you to jump in!
1. Chris is only horizontal; Sam is only vertical in their relational focus
The focus for both is on the word 'unknown'. For Chris it seems that the love of a guy for a girl is unknown by the girl and he 'has to get the message home'. For Sam Jesus' love for people with a sin-problem is being rejected and so remaining unknown to them - with particular reference to the hatred shown by those watching Jesus go to the cross.
2. For Chris the purpose of the pursuit seems more selfish; for Sam the purpose is sacrificial.
While Chris goes on about 'you don't have to be alone' and this does sound selfless (although we don't know if she wants his company!), the deeper motivation is to fill the void in himself: "I'm nothing on my own". For Sam the purpose is about this fabulous gospel story. It is about this sacrificial death of Jesus - 'for my sake ... who at my need His life did spend' - which then enables this profound friendship with this same Jesus - 'my friend, my friend indeed' - to develop and writer's own person to become deeply 'lovely': 'love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be.'
3. For Chris this love remains unknown until the end; for Sam the love becomes known by the end.
Both songs tell a story. For Chris there is intense longing and emotional turmoil all the way through. The message doesn't seem to get home. For Sam the hatred and scorn and anger of the crowds in that final week is contrasted by the writer experiencing something quite different: "Never was love ... like yours. This is my Friend, in whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend." This love actually can be known and experienced...
Maybe you can uncover a few other observations. Here are a couple of clips from YouTube:
The Coldplay song:
The Crossman song: