Embracing Divine Love through Art and Worship: Reflections on 'Little Things with Great Love

"Little Things with Great Love” is a song by Porter's Gate—a group of musicians, pastors, and theologians who meet and write faithful, biblical, and beautiful worship music. This song is one of my favorites. I invite you to watch the video and/or read the lyrics, listening for the Spirit's stirrings within you.

In the garden of our Savior, no flower grows unseen;
His kindness rains like water on every humble seed.
No simple act of mercy escapes His watchful eye —
for there is One who loves me: His hand is over mine.

In the kingdom of the heavens, no suff’ring is unknown;
each tear that falls is holy, each breaking heart a throne.
There is a song of beauty on ev’ry weeping eye —
for there is One who loves me: His heart, it breaks with mine.

Oh, the deeds forgotten; oh, the works unseen,
every drink of water flowing graciously,
every tender mercy, You’re making glorious.
This You have asked us: do little things with great love,
little things with great love.

At the table of our Savior, no mouth will go unfed;
His children in the shadows stream in and raise their heads.
Oh give us ears to hear them and give us eyes that see —
for there is One who loves them: I am His hands and feet.

I love this piece, the simplicity of guitar and vocals to begin, the slow addition of street sounds and strings, the softness at the lyric, "little things with great love," and the final build-up in the last stanza with all the strings and guitar. The line "His heart, it breaks with mine" reminds me of the story of Jesus weeping with Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus. I particularly love the last stanza, where we are reminded that at the Table of Jesus, all are fed, that God's children who dwell in shadow are invited to that Table, "for there is one who loves them," we are "his hands and feet."

Sometimes, I think of music and art as something separate, something that doesn't necessarily connect me to God or my faith life. But worship music like this, worship like the hymns we sing on Sundays, art like we see in the gallery, poetry that we read together and alone, recall me to the worship of our just and loving God. Art, I’ve learned, is a vehicle that brings us closer to ourselves, one another, and God.

This coming weekend, we're taking a group of our youth to Johnsonburg Camp and Retreat Center for their annual all-youth retreat. This year, we’ll be led by Lady Z, the founder and director of Poets for Justice. When I think of poets for justice, I think of songs like "Little Things with Great Love" or the poetry of Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, and more, poetry that inspires me to participate in God's just and loving action in the world. I can’t wait to see what our youth learn from Lady Z about responding to injustice through creativity and art.

As our youth learn this weekend what it means to seek and experience justice through poetry, I invite you to encounter God through art in some small way this week. Seek out the God who calls for “justice to roll down like rivers” (Amos 5:24), taught in stories and parables, and knew the poetry of the psalms by heart, and who daily calls us to lives of holiness, justice, and peace.