Over the years I have developed a habit that some may find endearing and others may have distain towards. Occasionally I will ask the congregation to start the Call to Worship over if they don’t read it with the intended emotion and inflection. “This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” should be read with great feeling. I know that it may seem annoying at times to have the preacher stop the service and start things over. I hope that it comes across in a better way. I believe that if we start our worship of God with a lethargic mumble we will more than likely carry that feeling and energy forward through the rest of the service.
To give God glory and honor is a good a joyous thing. While we may not always feel like it we need to encourage ourselves to reflect on God in this light. This past Sunday after I preached about our hope in the fact that all is God’s, I found myself in a place where rebooting our actions may have been helpful. As we sang “Take My Life and Let it Be” I was struck by the fact that the deeply meaningful words while heavy didn’t need to make us feel weighed down.
I recently attended a funeral where I wasn’t officiating. I will readily admit that I am a poor worship attended/follower. I have worked very hard to worship through leadership and am challenged to follow the leader. That being said I was struck by not only the deep love that the family and friends shared for their loved one but also the faith they were holding onto. Yet, something seemed off to me. When the leader of the service spoke of the love, grace and hope of the Gospel I felt he was holding back his joy.
I have done more than my fair share of funerals for both the old and young. While the situation is dark and overshadowed by sadness I have always felt the deepest call to let the light of the Gospel shine through. As one who is an advocate for the hope we have in Jesus Christ it is critical that I convey that hopeful message in even the darkest situations. Perhaps we feel that if we share the joy of new life in Christ we will offend those who are in deep pain. Scripture, tradition, and experience all tell me that this isn’t the case. We don’t want to try and pacify people’s pain with vein empty platitudes, now that is offensive. Still in a world where pain and loss is casting darkness over people we can share the joy we have found in Christ.
I guess what I am saying is that it’s not just what we say but how we say it that is important. Mary Poppins reminded us that, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” That may be a bit simplistic but there is truth in the message. When we as Christ disciples convey the Christian life as a deep and painful burden we not only fail to give God glory but make it seem mighty unattractive.
“Rejoice, again I say rejoice”, was a phrase that resounded from Scripture a few weeks ago. This need to rejoice is a critical part of our live as Christ followers. It is impossible to rejoice while having a scowl on our faces. More importantly it is impossible to rejoice unless we open our hearts, minds and eyes to the blessings God has unfolded in our lives.
- How do you express the Good News as good news?
- What makes the Good News so Good?