I wore a suit two times this weekend.
One for a wedding. One for a funeral.
I got asked a few times how I was doing and the general state of my heart. I didn’t really have a good answer outside of “okay”. Not because I wanted to avoid sharing deeply about what I was feeling in my heart. Not because I was numb to emotion after being in ministry all these years. Not because I was unaware of how I felt. The reason I answered “ok” was intentional, and encompassed the truth of how I was: somewhere in the middle of sadness and anger and joy and celebration.
In rehearsing, memorizing and singing songs of love and promise contrasted with melodies and lyrics of pain and trust— there is a tension created. This is something that we find each and every week. We come into a space as a group of people from a myriad of experiences and circumstances, and look to focus our attention in a unified moment towards the same thought or idea.
How does the widow find comfort in the God of love?
How does the abused find joy in a good father?
How does the angry or depressed find comfort and connection with God?
I don’t know.
These are questions with which I regularly face and wrestle. There are natural tensions in life that reflect these kinds of questions. Life from the pangs of birth. Aching bones produce growth spurts. Tired muscles and fatigue from strenuous exercise make way for a stronger body. More than bittersweet moments, there are seasons of life that are painful and heavy that pave way for greater understanding, celebration and joy. Thankfully, the Bible gives us not only permission to be present in those moments, but also great examples of what that can look like.
19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
From songs chosen to flow of service, the thought of caring for the people that will comprise a given space and time is at the forefront. I don’t want to neglect the broken-hearted and with the same respect consider those in times of harvest and joy.
We have those in a wedding and those in a funeral.
It can seem like a burden to be a part of things like memorials or weddings, especially when the calendar begins to fill. And although I highly advocate to have balance and wisdom in scheduling, I look to these moments with great care and consideration. My wife put it best:
“It is an honor and privilege to be invited into the most intimate moments of people’s lives.”
The gifting that God has uniquely given me allows me access to share in the highest of highs and lowest of lows. This I do not take lightly nor for granted. Every aspect from singing to sound to lights to room to clean up and tear down are opportunities to serve and minister to our church. Our family. God’s family. And the chance to be invited to share in some of the most personal of moments extends outside of special services and into any given weekend. Broken hearts need mending. Marriages need rescuing. Addictions need breaking. Bodies need healing. Souls need saving.
And God is inviting us to take part in our own unique ways to come alongside the process of these needs being met. To be brought into the most intimate of moments and watch and see how God moves and works each and every week. A great honor and privilege.
Reflect On This…
- What does it look like for you to be present in someone else’s pain? What does it look like for you to be present in their joy?
- Think back to one of your recent dark moments, one far enough away that you have some space to see a bigger picture. Did God bring something good out of that time? Were you made stronger? Were your margins stretched so that you have more capacity? Are you more attuned to him?
- As you reflect, ask God to reveal to you times in which there were gleams of brightness, when someone ministered to you
well in being present with you, loving you, or singing to you.