By Bread of Life Lutheran Church | January 28, 2018
Emotions are tricky things!?! Counsellor types will tell us that there really is no such thing as good ones(emotions) or bad ones.. they just are. Going on from there, they would then explain that it is what we do with those emotions and feelings that help them become either constructive & healthy OR destructive & unhealthy. (The first problem being here that - for many of us - it is precisely that “lack of control” in emotional moments that often makes us uncomfortable with them or unwilling to let them be.)
For some this gets even trickier when we start to talk about the emotions we have toward God - right up to and including a very false.. very wrong.. understanding many have about needing to be “careful” about how much we share with God. As in.. “is it right or wrong to get angry with God?” Or.. “is it right or wrong to maybe even YELL at God.. let it ALL hang out - our fears & our tears.. our frustrations & our doubts?” (The short answer to all of this being - by the way - a very loud and clear YES!)
In recent weeks, one of the things that we have begun to do again as part of Sunday worship is reading the weekly Psalm. The big reason I have always been as committed to do this as I am is precisely because they are sometimes some of the most honest words in the Bible. While some days they indeed are mostly filled with the language of praise and thanksgiving (a good thing too), other days they come as some of the most emotionally raw expressions of life’s struggles and the challenge to hold on to faith in the midst of.. (especially for instance during the season of Lent). And in fact, to hear that there really are words in the Bible that cry out & reflect the kinds of anger and pain we all sometimes feel - ie. “How long O Lord how long…” or even “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me..” - does then become a very clear offering of permission. It is a permission for us to also show and share our true emotions (even the messy, impolite ones) - share them with each other.. AND .. share them with God.
I like the Psalms because even though I may not preach on them directly very often, they have a way of crawling into ears and hearts. They remind us that it is okay to be human.. to be frail.. to be emotional.. to be broken. They remind us that church and the family of faith are exactly THE safe places we are looking for to share our hearts and doubts, our trust and our fears.
If you EVER have any questions about what and why we do what we do in worship, rest assured you are not the only one wondering. And please feel free to grab me and ask me about such. This is one of my favourite things to chat about!
- Pr. Stewart