“Love Your Crooked Neighbor with Your Crooked Heart,” by Christian McIvor

Posted by on Oct 15, 2020 in Uncategorized | No Comments

In his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” I think all of us can relate to this feeling of restlessness we find within ourselves when we are chasing after things that are not of God. Thankfully, we are reminded throughout scripture that when we open our hearts to love and serve our neighbors as ourselves, we find God. Simply put, loving God means loving people. We find an inner peace when we accept the love of Christ and then share it with others in tangible ways.  

The song “Love Your Crooked Neighbor with Your Crooked Heart” takes its title from a line in the W.H. Auden poem “As I Walked Out One Evening.” The song speaks to how God’s love reaches right through the imperfections and shortcomings each of us carries, urging us to offer that same love back to God (Deut. 6:5) by loving each other in the world. As God has “told us from the start,” “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).  Of course this makes sense if we believe that each of us is created in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). Jesus echoes these Hebrew scriptures when he tells us that the “greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:34-40) is to love God by loving others.  

Especially during this divisive season, what are some concrete ways in which we might go on loving all of our crooked neighbors with our crooked hearts?

Christian McIvor
Minister of Worship, Music and the Arts

“Love Your Crooked Neighbor with Your Crooked Heart” 
(Link to Video) 

Lyrics:

Well we’ve all got our stories, 
With plenty left to tell.
We’ve roamed the hills and valleys,
Touched heaven and been through hell                               

And though we try and we try to do you right, 
We still stumble and we fall.  And still you
Open up our eyes to see your light, 
It’s always shining through in all.

O Lord, we sometimes can’t explain the things we do,
But our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
So, we’ll remember what you’ve told us from the start,            
“Just go on and love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.”

We know that no one’s perfect,
We’re all broken and we’re flawed.
But the fissures and the fractures
Are bound together by God.

And though we try and we try to do you right, 
We still stumble and we fall.  And still you
Open up our eyes to see your light, 
It’s always shining through in all.

O Lord, we sometimes can’t explain the things we do,
But our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
So, we’ll remember what You’ve told us from the start,            
“Just go on and love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.”

©Christian McIvor, 2018

Resources Used for this Article:
Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book I, Chapter 1
W.H. Auden, “As I Walked Out One Evening,” from Another Time, https://poets.org/poem/i-walked-out-one-evening