Monday, July 18, 2011

Repost: Can We Worship Through Grief?

This is an old one from my previous blog. I updated it a little bit, but the bulk is still the same. Last week, Shawn Smucker posted about the next Christian boycott. In it, there was a discussion about secular things. It kind of reminded me of this post and why I find that I'm drawn to a lot of "non-Christian" art. This post was originally inspired by a similar conversation.


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I think the first thing that we need to do is to define worship. Looking at dictionary.com, the definition that caught my eye was this:
to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).
I really love the idea of "adoring reverence." The picture I see in that definition is one that resonates with me deeply. So that leads me to the question, can we worship through lamentation?

I think that we can. I look at how I feel about my husband. I love him all the time. My mood doesn't really change that I love him. And honestly, sometimes I love him even more when I'm going through a difficult or painful situation. When people on the outside hurt me, it's good to know that I can turn to him for acceptance and love. Which, in turn, makes me love him all the more. And that tends to draw us closer to one another.

I don't think it should be any different in the church context. We hurt. We're hurt by others, we're hurt by circumstances, we're hurt by our own bad choices. And in the midst of that hurt, we should know that we can turn to God. Sadly, modern worship music hasn't offered much in the way of tools to express that hurt in a corporate setting. I think we're sometimes a bit afraid to offer that part of ourselves up. We hear folks talk about depression with a "just snap out of it" attitude and as a result, we're afraid to share our own pain with one another. Unfortunately, this can leave us feeling even more isolated and cut off, both from one another, but ultimately from God.

In my opinion, any tools, whether they be in the Church or outside of it, that we can use to express the full range of human emotion can only increase our ability to be authentic with one another and with God. And I believe that is a good thing.

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What ways have you found that the Church helps you express grief? Do you find more inspiration in those seasons from Christian or secular sources? If you're a person of faith, do you find that secular sources can offer a measure of comfort? If you're not, do you ever draw comfort from spiritual teachings?

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