I once read that the music we listen to becomes the soundtrack of our life. I just love that sentiment! As in a movie with a great soundtrack, music can transport us in time and evoke in us emotions we had thought were long gone. Have you ever noticed how certain songs bring you right back in time?
For me, “The Servant Song” is one of those songs. I remember singing this song in my high school choir, joining in the soulful rendition of our college folk choir, and raising this song with prayer-filled communities as we prepared to go out and serve Christ among us. Every time I hear this song, I am transported back to these times in which my heart was filled with a special awareness of the Holy Spirit at work—present and alive—in the unity and fruits of these communities rooted in Christ’s love.
This song doesn’t just bring me back in time though; it impels me forward too. Every time I hear it, I am reminded that the Christian call to serve is a personal and lifelong call. And it reminds me that those we are called to serve may not always be in a far-off country. It might also be that we are called to “hold the Christ light” that we sing of in this song for our best friend, child, or spouse—whomever is vulnerable at the time. Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
When I hear “The Servant Song,” I remember too that the call to serve requires accompaniment. Serving is never a one-way street if we’re doing it right; it is a special privilege that requires a certain vulnerability on the part of both giver and receiver. Pope Francis reminds us almost daily not just of our call to serve, but also of the need to accompany those whom we serve:
The call to serve involves something special, to which we must be attentive. Serving others chiefly means caring for their vulnerability. Caring for the vulnerable of our families, our society, our people. Theirs are the suffering, fragile and downcast faces which Jesus tells us specifically to look at and which he asks us to love. With a love which takes shape in our actions and decisions. With a love which finds expression in whatever tasks we, as citizens, are called to perform. People of flesh and blood, people with individual lives and stories, and with all their frailty: these are those whom Jesus asks us to protect, to care for, to serve. Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it. That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable. (Homily of Pope Francis in Havana, September 20, 2015)
In the soundtrack of my life, “The Servant Song” is a powerful reminder of God’s presence in my life and my response to God’s presence. What about you? Where do you find God in the soundtrack of your life? What songs in your soundtrack bring to mind those who have held the Christ light for you? What songs remind you of times when you held the Christ light out to others? Whom might you be called to hold the Christ light out to in the future?
We’re in the last week of 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Read today’s selection, In God’s Waiting Room by Loretta Pehanich.
Yes, I’m working on that too! It is so humbling to be on the receiving end of help – it certainly does require grace to be able accept it.
As I listened to this today the phrase that really spoke to me was “Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too”. How I need to recognize that I need to be less independent and to give others the opportunity to serve me as well. We serve others when we give them the opportunity to serve also.
My daughter included this song in her wedding ceremony.
What a beautiful song for a wedding – so appropriate!