Mon., May 21, 2018

Kingdom choir

1 Kings 19:11-13 – “Go out and stand on the mountain,” the Lord replied. “I want you to see me when I pass by.” All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the Lord was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. The Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?”

When the familiar chords to the beginning of the song began, a little smile crept on the bride and groom’s face. A little surprise. Maybe, even a bit of a gift to their guests.

Watching the royal weddings has become a bit of a tradition for me. I remember waking up before the crack of dawn with my younger sister, Debbie, and watching Princess Diana wed Prince Charles. Yes, I watched William and Kate’s ceremony. I had given very little thought into watching Henry and Megan’s wedding. Up at 6 AM on Saturday, I quickly turned on the television and caught the beautifully decorated chapel, the variety of clergy who participate in the service and the gorgeous 16-foot train.

The part of the service that caught my attention the most? When the Kingdom’s Chorus sang the spiritual, “Stand By Me.”

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh, stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me,
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh, stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me,
Stand by me

This 20-member choir gave the rest of the world their gift: a spiritually inspired version of this song that has come to symbolize strength when we need it the most.

As I listened to the choir sing this song, feelings welled up inside of me. I’m drawn to the feeling that God stands by me and everyone else. When I hear this song, I almost feel as if God is saying to me, “My darling Dianne, stand by me. Just stand by me.”

Recognizing God in our daily lives can sometimes be challenging. Where is God during those awful days of our lives? The ones we yearn to be over and want to forget?

Elijah had been through an excruciating time in his life. When everyone else turned away from God, he remained faithful. But it cost him dearly. Fearing for his life, he ran away. He prayed for God to take his life. Death seemed more comforting than life. After being guided by God’s angel for 40 days and nights, he spent a night in a cave. God visited him and questioned why Elijah was hiding out in a cave. Elijah’s reply: I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me, God, and here I am, all alone.

God guided Elijah to stand on the mountain and watch. First, there was a mighty wind, then an earthquake, followed up by a fire. God was not in any of these potential disasters. God arrived last, in the soft whisper of a voice. A breath. As quiet as can be.

If you have experienced your own disasters, take peace. God stands with you. When you tumble and fall, God is ready to pick you up. In the dark days of life, be not afraid. God stands by you.

I do not know why Harry and Megan chose this song for their wedding. I pray they remember Who stands with them in the days ahead. God was with Elijah. God will be with the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex. God stands with you. God stands with me.

For this, I am grateful.

You are truly amazing, Lord God. As much as we may feel alone, I pray we do not forget that you, Lord God, always stand with us. Thank you for this. Amen.

Blessings –


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