Mark Katrick faith column: Lives, connections we make with others are God's greatest gift

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The Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.
The Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.

If you’re a regular reader of my columns, you know by now that I love countdown shows on Sirius XM. When you’re feeling all stressed out about the way things are, I say turn off the news, turn on the music, breathe and just let it be.

My favorite of these are the ’60s Satellite Surveys with Dave Hoeffel. Last fall, they did a listener-voted top 1,000 hits of all time, hosted by all the DJs.

If I’d participated, my vote would have been for “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love,” the Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition performed by Jackie DeShannon. To this day, its timeless message remains the same: that “love, sweet love is the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

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The one of a thousand that really touched my heartstrings sort of snuck up on me: It is “My Cup Runneth Over.” This song was written and performed by actor Ed Ames.

“My cup runneth over” is also a quotation from Psalm 23:5. The Psalmist pours out feelings of deep gratitude for the Good Shepherd, who has provided more than enough for his needs. The Psalm and the song have the same effect on me: They are like a whole gratitude journal wrapped up in a few verses.

While listening to Ames sing, “the memorized moments” that I was thinking of brought tears, both happy and sad, to my eyes. That’s what any great song or Psalm can do — take you back to a place and time where you can share, relive and release your feelings to God in a spirit of gratefulness.

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The lives we live and the connections we make with others are God’s greatest gift. And so I’ve played and replayed that one song in a thousand, living and reliving the relationships that caused my cup to runneth over; the love of faithful companions, family and friends, colleagues, partners in ministry and spiritual direction; and the members and friends of the churches I’ve served the past 40 years.

Most of my tears were for the relationships that didn’t work out. Yet through these I learned the most important, life-changing, transformational lessons about what it means to love and be loved.

The next time you’re feeling reflective and contemplative and wanting to replay some of the greatest hits of your life, grab your gratitude journal and a box of Kleenex. Then release, release, release, and let your “cup runneth over with love.”

Mark Katrick is a pastor and spiritual guide.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Newark Mark Katrick faith column: Connections are God's greatest gift