All We Need Is Love…

Have I told You lately that I love You?  Have I told You? There’s no one else above You.

This past summer, I asked my congregants: Send me the love song you would sing to God.  
My plan was to create a service from their suggestions.

One congregant surprised me with an Elvis Presley tune. For several weeks, I had fun making my voice deep and round. I went about the house singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” while making beds and doing laundry.

I fell in love with tunes I had not known. “You Are Not Alone” by the Eagles became a personal favorite. I sang it as if God were singing to me, as the congregant had suggested. I rediscovered melodies and recast them from my knowledge of the particular person who had suggested the tune. 

We sang a version of “Light My Fire” by the Doors for candle-lighting. We rewrote the lyrics just a bit:

The time to hesitate is through.
There’s no need to wallow in the mire.
Bring some matches with you, too.
The lighting situation’s dire.
Come on baby, light my fire…

I played electric guitar publicly for the Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Something’s Always Wrong.” (Our relationships with God aren’t always easy and sweet, after all.)

Folks showed up to the service in tie-dyed clothing and beaded headbands. The room was filled with color and light.

We went through the service. I took a little time to walk us through the placement of each song. “Feelin’ Groovy” seemed like the perfect Kabbalat Shabbat tune. We might read Mourner’s Kaddish as a sweet opportunity to remember what a “Time It Was.”

A roomful of people were reading and understanding our Shabbat services in a whole new way.

Prayer is about love. It is about doubt. It is about anguish and passion and joy.

What we sing in Hebrew is about all those things. Mi Chamocha
, understood on its own terms, fairly invites us to stand and celebrate the freedom we have been granted, the security of solid ground underneath our feet. Aleynu can be read as “Imagine” – who among us has not dreamed of the world being as one, without greed or hunger plaguing anyone?

The room was simultaneously filled with the wonder of realization and a joyful, happy ease. We sang love songs and we allowed ourselves to experience the depth of our prayer.

Later, a Christian friend of mine who had attended the service said, simply, “God was in that room.”

I long for such moments. In this regard, I am spoiled by my congregation. I believe our members long for the same thing. 

Was there one love song we all sang together?  

Have I told You lately that I love You? Have I told You? There’s no one else above You. 


3 Replies to “All We Need Is Love…”

  1. We have those moments every day. Sometimes it’s just tough to see them clearly through the haze of doubt. We all saw very clearly that night. May the High Holy Days be just as immediate.

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