I Was Born To Sing For You

19 Jan

My church has something called a wall of prayer where we try to have all the hours of the week covered in prayer by someone within the congregation. Although my schedule varies from week to week, I signed up for 4:00 on Mondays. Today was my first day. 

There is something powerful about knowing your prayer time is something bigger than you. That you are praying not only for your own spiritual process but for the collective body of the church. I couldn’t have picked a better day for my hour – my brick in the wall. It’s raining. I’ve been home studying all day (which is its own form of prayer) and coming off of four days free of clinical work before having to move into two weeks of very little break. 

My prayer time wasn’t anything at all what I expected. Not that I expected anything in particular. But what I got surprised me. Over and over again, I kept hearing my pastor’s reference to the Shema this Sunday. “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” But more specifically, I kept hearing the pastor saying in more lay terms that we have a body, a mind and emotions so that we can love God with these things. That kept playing over in my head like a mantra. And since my body actually hurt from stiffness, I decided to lay down on the floor and stretch as I concentrated very specifically on God. 

As I did I thought of how wonderful it is when our bodies, minds, hearts and souls reverberate with God. I thought of the U-2 lyric, “I was born to sing for you (referring to God) and Walt Whitman’s poetic line “I sing the body electric” which I relate to when my body is flushed with gratitude for the life God has given me and the current of the Holy Spirit that operates through me. 

And then my mind went to a young woman who I happened to have in a few group therapy sessions long ago at a hospital where I work. She was someone so sweet but tormented with anxiety and the fact that her life was being aborted by this affliction. Anxiety was so riddling her body she’d sit rigid in her chair almost catatonic. We were doing a group on anxiety and I told the group that sometimes, we have to work with the body to treat anxiety. And so I had her lay in a yoga posture – child’s pose – over a bolster and I’ll never forget the look of peace that came over her face. For a few minutes, her entire body surrendered into peace and her face relaxed. That to me is what we look like when we feel God holding us. Being with us. Maybe this is loving God with our bodies. 

And finally my mind jumped to the film “Slumdog Millionaire” because I had heard one of the film’s songs the other day. The song where a woman is humming and on screen we see all the pieces of the character’s life coming together – culminating into transcendence from his previous suffering as he reunites with his beloved. At the time I didn’t see this as the reuniting with the BELOVED – with our maker. The restoring of cosmic order. I didn’t make the connection. I didn’t see God’s kiss of grace as the hero kisses the scar of his beloved. But on some deep level I got it. Because that movie rocked me. It spoke to me as my story. Our story. All of our stories. I didn’t find the film sad. I found it luminous. Miraculous.  The fragments of my life coming together. The old hurts and wounds absolving as I near God. Look to the face of God. Unveiled. 

And so during my hour of prayer – my brick in the wall – I found myself crying. Out of gratitude. 

Yes, God. I was born to sing for you. And I will love you with my mind, my body, my heart and my soul.

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