and with my song I give thanks to God. (Psalm 28:6-7)
One of the greatest gifts of my role in ministry at NUCC is that I get to hear the remarkable stories of people’s lives daily. Today was no exception. During these times, much of my pastoral care is done on the phone, so I reached out to one of our members who has been undergoing some significant health challenges. I was thrilled when she answered her phone on the second ring, as she had not been feeling up to talking in the past few weeks. She proceeded to share a story with me (which she has given permission to tell) that shifted her whole perspective on her life situation.
It was late at night and she was wide awake feeling upset and alone when she heard a rather childlike voice singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” She could not see who it was and wondered if she was just imagining it or dreaming it. But, the next night, the same thing happened, and then again, a third night. She finally turned to see an aide in her room tidying up around her bed. It was then that my friend turned to the aide and thanked her for her beautiful gift. She added, “You have such a difficult job to do – how do you manage it with such a good attitude?” The aide simply said, “My job is wonderful because I get to help people all night long.”
In the darkness of that evening, everything shifted for her. Ever since that first night when she discovered her angel singing to her, she found herself humming that old hymn over and over. Those familiar words soothed her like a favorite blanket bring comfort and peace. It was then that she realized that “everyone needs a song.” A song that is ours, a song that brings a sense of God’s strength, a song that reminds us that we are not alone, a song that sustains us in difficult times.
I pondered that and realized that I have a song or two that I turn to in times of stress or pain. The first one that I always turn to is: “How Can I Keep from Singing?”
My life goes on in endless song
How can I keep from singing?
She is so right — everyone needs a song. What is yours?
Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care
For those who are experiencing health challenges:
O God of all compassion, in this sacred space, we remember anew the power of community prayer. We lift those yearning for healing, those burdened by emotional or physical pain, and those whose fears have become a roadblock to faith. We pray that even in the darkness of the journey, you will embrace each one and renew us with your presence. For it is in the challenging moments of life that you are cultivating in each us the character of Jesus. And, it is in Christ that we are sustained. Amen.