13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.
James 5:13, NRSV
I sat down at an empty workspace in the neurology department and reached for the phone. I was a chaplain intern at the time, working in one of our local hospitals, and I was taking a moment to page my supervisor about one of my patient visits. Only… the page didn’t seem to be going through. I grumbled my frustrations with technology and pressed the numbers on the phone’s keypad. As I did so, I noticed a lullaby playing over the hospital’s PA system. The music simultaneously heralded the birth of a new baby and tamed my cranky grumblings. How sweet! I thought…
… for a brief moment, before returning to the phone. Why won’t this page go through? I grumbled, pressing the buttons again and again.
Then… another lullaby. Twins? I wondered. Then I heard it a third time… but this time, as the music played, I noticed words on my phone’s miniature screen: “LULLABY.” Somehow, in my attempts to page my supervisor, I had inadvertently stumbled on the code for the lullaby music. I was the one playing it on repeat throughout the hospital’s loudspeakers.
Sometimes I wonder what the nurses in the labor & delivery unit were thinking as they heard that repeated lullaby. What babies? they must’ve asked, looking around at one another. Even more, I wonder if anyone looked back at the phone logs and asked why the new-baby-lullaby page was coming from a random workspace in the neurology department.
Lullabies can still be heard wafting through the halls of our hospitals, still heralding the arrival and new life and new hope. But there are other songs wafting through those halls, now, too. A song when a COVID patient is taken off a ventilator. A song when a COVID patient leaves the ICU. A song when a COVID patient is able to go home. A song heralding renewed life and renewed hope.
The song may vary from one hospital to the next — from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” to the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” from Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” to the “Gonna Fly Now” theme from the Rocky movies — but the joy in hearing them is universal. It’s the sound of renewed life and renewed hope. So are any among you suffering (the author of James asks)? Pray. Let’s all pray. But are any cheerful? Really cheerful? Like… I-just-beat-COVID-19 cheerful? Then sing songs of praise. In fact, let’s all sing songs of praise. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in the theme from Rocky, too.
Sing praises, friends… because:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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