Thursday, March 31, 2011

Worshiping in Weakness

I have felt fragile for far too long.  My eyes sting. I inwardly threaten myself. My throat feels the way it always does when I am prepared to cry. I do not want to cry here.

Each week that I choose to attend church, it's more of the same.  Music lifts the veil and suddenly my heart is pierced.  The things I have wanted to pray, scream, beg of God roar to the surface as the lyrics splay across the screen.

But I do not want to cry here.

Yes, Lord, "heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like You have loved me." 

But can we save this moment for another time?  I feel raw enough. I don't want to draw any attention and I don't need to cry here.

I marvel that, "no sky contains, no doubt restrains, all You are, the greatness of our God. I spend my life to know, and I'm far from close, to all you are the greatness of our God."  I am undone at His vastness and my smallness.

Then the message begins and I find myself turning to familiar passages and viewing them in a whole new light.  I am ashamed of my pride in believing I know the Bible so well before those moments. It is readily apparent that I have much to learn.  Humility, being humbled by these teachings and stunned by His grace, this too lifts the veil.

Song after song, week after week, worship leads me to confession.  This confession stretches me, not just in admitting to God who I am, where I've been, and how I want to be open to His hand.  It's more than that and I know why.

Some weeks I weigh whether or not I want to almost cry in church. This means that for every 2 or 3 weeks that I go, there's one or two weeks I stay home.  I'm not always ready to be that vulnerable.

Really, I'm not ready to show my weakness in the midst of my weakness.

No ribbon-wrapped present of the lesson I've learned but the messy business of doing life where there are no answers .There is no mask to wear unless I choose to put it on.  

Then, surprising myself, tears fall. Relief in this communion with Him. The people fade away. With kleenex in hand, I am made new.


This post was written for the Remarkable Faith link-up at Giving Up on Perfect, a series of memories and posts as we approach Lent.

Have you ever felt like crying in church?  What is your typical response to worship?


  1. Yes I cry a lot especially during worship. Sometimes its because of my pain, sometimes it's because of others pain. and a couple weeks ago I cried when two people dedicated their lives to God. I can't help but cry. But you should be able to cry at church. God wants us to open our hearts to him and if cry is what comes of it then it is what is needed. Sending you an email.

  2. We sang Hosanna last night!! We had a "city-wide" youth group music night, and it was awesome! I have to tell you, the seats in that room are NOT conducive to jumping all around, but I did it anyway. :D
    And I feel like crying at church quite frequently. It's hitting me more this year than it has in the last 20 years. It's crazy. A lot of the time it's realizations made during songs, when I'm really listening to the lyrics. Sometimes it's something that is said or done. I can pretty much guarantee you I'll be crying this Sunday--we're doing a baptism service. I'll probably be holding back tears pretty much the entire service.
    But as was said above, church should be a place where you're okay to cry & be vulnerable. As our pastor likes to say, the church is a hosptial (for sinners), not a hotel (for saints). :) But I can understand not wanting to be vulnerable enough that the tears flow, I guess... A lot of the time I feel stupid for crying over something that seems so insignificant, but I really shouldn't. If it's making me feel vulnerable and humble, it's significant, no matter how small it seems.

    Um. That was kind of a rambling comment. Haha. :)

  3. It does seem like crying in church can be a common response to how God is working in our lives. I should note that I love my church and it is a safe place. For some reason, I just don't want to cry or feel that vulnerable there. It has to do with my weaknesses, my tendency to want to be there for others instead of letting them be there for me. The moments that I let my guard down can be beautiful. I am, as always, a work in progress:)

  4. Leigh, I cry a LOT during worship. (Well, you know, I cry a lot, period. But especially during worship!) The worst part is when I'm singing in the choir and it happens. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm remembering that last Christmas, I sang a solo (a big deal for me!) and almost got choked up in the middle! I just can't help it. I am moved by music - and God. So you put the two together...!

    Thank you for linking up this week!

  5. A few years ago when I was extremely unhappy in my job, I would go to church and my eyes would "leak" all through the service. I think it was being still and feeling His love for me that made it a weekly occurrence.

    The music can sometimes move me to tears but the one thing that always touches my soul is witnessing the baptisms of babies/children.

    Thank you sharing your vulnerability and faith! Blessings.


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