How Whitney Houston made church special one Sunday

Goodness, it has been a month since the last entry. I knew it had been a while but was prompted to check when I got an email from a reader asking if the blog was no longer active. So apparently at least one person actually reads this. Shout out to Joe! It's a good discipline to write regularly about spirituality whether or not anyone reads it, and I apologize to myself and any other readers for letting us all down by disappearing for a while.

It has been a busy summer with some special learning and growing experiences. As I reflect on what was meaningful and enjoyable about the summer, I think of the services that the Christian Science Society of which I am a member (in Jamaica Plain, MA) has held outside in a park. It's lovely to sit together on a blanket with a group of spiritual seekers, feeling the soft breeze and warmth of the sun as we find comfort and wisdom in word and song on a Sunday morning.

One Sunday a few weeks ago during the service there was a gentleman in the park with a boom box. Old school- I love it! He was listening to Whitney Houston. It wasn't loud enough to be obtrusive, and probably the other members of the congregation were focused enough on the service to not even notice it, but I admit I was distracted a few times by the songs in the distance. And then I realized the songs perhaps had a message for me that Sunday morning.

The first song I heard was actually one that I mention in the context of one of the talks I give. It's called Saving All My Love for You. Now, the song is obviously about a man, and it is in fact about a situation involving infidelity, so it's not the most positive message! But, if we were to take the words out of context and see it as saving all our love for the divine, it could actually have a fairly deep meaning. That's how the song came to mind for me at one point when I realized I was "saving all my love" for a guy who wasn't even really interested in me and meanwhile not being very loving toward my own mother. To me the title of this song fits well with the first of two commandments Jesus gave us in Matthew 22, where he said we should love God with our heart, soul and mind.

The other song was a familiar one that I remember touching my heart when I was in middle school, especially when I heard the version by George Benson before the Whitney Houston version: The Greatest Love of All. "Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all, " I heard Whitney belting out during the service. This message fits with the second commandment Jesus gave us, to love our neighbor as ourselves. In order to love our neighbor, we do need to love ourselves, don't we?

So on that Sunday I might have been a little distracted during the service by Whitney over the boom box, but it was for a worthwhile purpose, so I could share with you these two messages that came through pop songs. So many secular songs have messages that easily translate into a spiritual context. I'm grateful for having had the experience of church this summer in an open space where members and even park visitors could contribute, whether they meant to or not.