Have you ever been outside, away from city lights, alone at night? It doesn’t matter if it was on the beach with the sound of waves, in the mountains with the creaking trees, or on the prairie with the rustling grass. If you’ve been outside alone at night far from the sound and light of human life, then you know what the psalmist meant with the words, “The heavens are telling the glory of God…” The stars shine brightly and the air is clear and there is a song to be heard in the stillness.
With all that is happening in the world and the added stress on our bodies, it is easy to forget that we are part of Creation and meant to tell of the glory of God simply because we exist. We carry with in us the song of the universe within us, it’s a melody that always sings of God’s glory even when the song goes unheard or unacknowledged. It does not matter what we carry that dampens the song, the melody goes on, and nothing can remove it from us.
While it is true that there is not much in the world that honors the song of Creation, the melody of God’s glory, the song cannot be erased. For those of us who are living with anxiety, depression, excessive stress and other mental health challenges, it might be hard to believe that we are part of Creation, a part meant for to glorify God. The message we receive is that we are flawed, we are less than what we are meant to be, or that God has given us mental health challenges because we deserve them as some for of punnishment or that we have some lesson to learn. The church can be among those who teach such false understandings. We learn that we cannot glorify God if we are flawed pretty quickly – from the world around us, and, too often, from the church itself.
And,yet, Jesus tells us, and Paul reaffirms, that we are to care for the vulnerable among us. We are to include and welcome those who cannot see their own value and those who have been devalued by the world. Anyone who seeks inclusion is meant to be welcomed into the Body of Christ, better the Bodymind of Christ. Moreover, as the Bodymind of Christ we are to treat everyone as the most valuable member of the Bodymind. God never requires perfection, flawlessness. Instead God asks for our whole selves, our whole love, our completeness as we tell of God’s glory with our word’s, with our actions, with our prayers, with our lives — no matter what we carry, no matter what burdens us, no matter who we are, no matter where we are, no matter what we are told about our value by the world or by the church. As part of God’s Creation, we are God’s glory.
If the heavens, the forests, the oceans, the prairies, the mountains, the rivers, and the lakes tell of God’s glory, what are the words, the melodies, the songs that play through us? What in our lives sings of God’s glory even when we don’t notice? Imagine a world in which we focused more on God’s glory within us and within all around us than the current focus on our faults, flaws, and differences. A world that focused on God’s glory would honor the whole of Creation and each individual part of it. What if when we found ourselves in a new situation or with new people, we paused to listen for that which sings of God’s glory? What if we saw that which is whole before we saw that which is broken in each one of us?
My friends, the Bodymind of Christ is suffering with anxiety, depression, and so much more. Even so, the Bodymind of Christ is beautifully whole and can continue to glorify God by expanding the understanding of wholeness and strength. We have a song to sing and that song cannot be fully be sung without the voice of everyone. What lies within you that sings of God’s glory? Can you sing it out loud and invite another to join you?
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is an author, and the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN. You can find links to her blog, video series, and books at Beachtheology.com