Worship is powerful at any time or any place in one’s life. Being able to share shouts of praise and gratitude to the God of creation during times of celebration reminds us of how awesome our God is. We sometimes find it more difficult to praise God when we are broken, when we are in the face of great grief and despair.
I have spent a lot of time in that place this week. Sitting with a young teenager whose mom was slowing dying. Hearing questions of 'why', and 'if there is a God how can this be happening'? How can we bow our heads in worship, or raise our voices in songs of gratitude during these times when our hearts are breaking? This question is even more poignant to me during the week of the anniversary of 9/11, when the world seemed to stop and in one breath turn to grief.
But it was on that day, that I truly witnessed worship in the face of grief, when a baseball field transformed into a worship circle, with dozens of people standing hands grasped together, raising their voices to God, singing, praying, remembering that we worship a God of love.
How though, how can we let our hearts be transformed and pointed towards worship with all the horrors we witness and hear about each day? The only answer I have to that question is: faith. We can worship in the face of grief if we allow our faith to guide us. Faith helps us remember in moments of great despair that our God is a God of faithfulness even when things don’t always make sense and we want to question and turn away and run from God. It is in those times that God’s arms reach even more firmly around us, guiding us, guarding us and strengthening us.
If we can turn our hearts from sadness to the promise of God’s love and sacrifice, we can embrace the triune God in our darkest moments. We can’t answer the questions of why things happen, we can’t always understand where God is in a moment, but we can allow our faith to transform our hearts from grief to prayer and worship. Remembering that our God walks with us as we travel the easy roads and the difficult ones, we are reminded that we are not alone and hopefully our voices will join those around us as we sing of God’s love, even when our hearts are breaking.