“Commit to Healing: The Right Song” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

October 24th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Church,

I hope you are staying warm and dry this week. In New York City, we have seen several days of rainfall, which has shifted the feel of the city to one of contemplation. While the grey hues of a rainy day may feel glum for some people, for me it helps me slow down and think about what I actually have to do in my day or week. Has that happened to you? Has rain ever given you the permission you need to say no to something? Has the sun’s light illuminated a task that you would have put off otherwise? As the weather in the part of the world you live in shifts to the new season, I pray that it helps you find a healing rhythm for your life. No matter the weather, we hope you will join us for Sunday worship either in person or online. I am so grateful to be one of your pastors.

This week’s scripture we are headed into the Psalms. Psalms are poems, prose, and songs and like the shifting weather, the Psalms shift us into new ways of speaking and thinking about God. Our Psalm this week is Psalm 84 and it talks about the dwelling place of God. I believe that God is with us always and with that theology, the dwelling place of God can be and is in everything. God dwells in the courts and the songs, the altars and the nest of a swallow. Our home with God is the living act of Praise that is our life. Let’s read together from Psalm 84:

“1 How I love your dwelling place,
O God!
2 How my soul yearns and pines
for your courts, my God!
My heart and my flesh sing for joy
to you, the living God.
3 The sparrow has found its home at last, the swallow a nest for its young—
on your altars, my Sovereign, my God!
4 Happiness belongs to those who live in your house
and can praise you all day long;” (Psalm 84: 1-4)

I count at least 8 places in this text where I am reminded that God dwells. So often we think that it is just in our sanctuary or our ministry spaces. That is why it can take some time for us and our congregations to get used to change. But when we think of living with God as an act of our existence, it is easier to let go of some of the more challenging things when change comes. Which is easier for some than others. We each dwell with God so differently which is such a blessing. Listening to God at work in each other’s lives gives us healing spaces to look for God in new ways in our own life.

This week director Ava DuVernay asked on Twitter, “Name a song that makes you cry if you let it?” Thousands of people shared the songs of their hearts and the stories that accompanied it. You saw songs named because of lost family members and joyous friends, songs of love and heartache, and songs of longing. But as I read through the thread, it was so obvious that each song named, was a dwelling space of God for that person. The right song has the power to connect you to God so deeply that you can never escape that feeling each time the song comes on. As the Psalm reminds us that our hearts and our bodies sing when we remember that we dwell with the living God. God lives in the whistle of the wind, in the buzz of the bee, and in the songs of our hearts.

Friends, we are siblings in God’s home. Sometimes we forget that in spaces of loneliness or grief. But when the right song comes on, or when the right person calls, or when the act of kindness you needed today greets you, you know that the spirit of the living God is with you, at home in your heart forever.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, help me remember that you dwell in the heart of us all, and that all of those hearts live together in your creation. Amen