Increasingly lost in her dementia and confusion my mother was still able to say to me, “I love going to church!” Mom loved seeing people who accepted her, listening to the homily and hearing the music – above all else, the music.
In recent weeks at my parish we have heard the song lyrics: “I will be, I will be, I will be strength for the journey” and “For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.”* Because I am my mother’s daughter, I listen as carefully to the songs as I do to the readings and prayers. These two songs keep resounding in me, and I hear their truth again in this past Sunday’s liturgy.
The God who has created us commands us not to division or retribution or self-righteousness. No, the God who is our strength created us in abiding love and that remains our call. It is the primary commandment written in our hearts by the prophets who call us to justice, the psalmist who invites us to mercy, the call to unity among the Philippians (and us centuries later) and in the parable to the community leaders in which Jesus offers redemption to those who will embrace it. The Holy One is our strength, our love in our humility, and we are compelled to love out of our desire to respond.
Find and keep a song in your heart this week for when the days feel unfair, for when a friend, family member or colleague betrays a trust, for an hour or moment when coronavirus or politics exhausts you. Be willing to be sent by God and testify to love anyway. After all, isn’t it really about extending love – no matter what?
*You can listen to these songs on YouTube by simply typing these snippets of lyrics in the search engine. Or find your own songs that inspire you.