The Holiness of Worship that Bleeds into the Work Week

Why does it have to be like this? You whimper as you sink into the chair, your face in your hands.

Names of friends you could call flip through your mind like a contact list of lifelines but you can’t call – not again – you’d be telling the same old woes, asking the same old prayers, like a blinking neon sign no one cares enough to rewire – and sure, they’ll say some words and you’ll say it helped, but what will it change?

This world is so broken and so are you. Yes, of course, there’s beauty, life, new babies on the way, children to make you laugh and hope, glints of heaven that sometimes help you hold on but some days, like this day, they just hurt your eyes and remind you that you’re not home.

Hope feels more like a chain you drag around this damaged world and it would be such a relief to let it go. And where are you, Jesus? When will you come back for us? You see us hanging on – you see us keeping the faith through betrayals, diseases, debts, divorces, lawsuits, and letdowns. One minute we’re singing your praise from the pew, the next we’re fielding lies from an addicted daughter, processing threats from a jealous sibling, or following the strobing lights of a rescue to the ER One. More. Time.

And the brokenness isn’t just around you – it’s inside you – you can’t even pretend you’re superior to the others who cause you pain -because you see what horrors play across the IMAX of your mind – the greed, selfishness, lust, anxiety, arrogance, and doubt and when, when will you ever feel like you’re enough and when will the day arrive when faith is sight – will you be standing when that day arrives because your faith is depleted and your soul feels defeated despite the praise songs you sang today

Which you believed as the chords played but how quickly they fade along with everyone’s smiles as they return to their own homes you know are as imperfect as your own.

So Jesus! You cry into the palms of your hands – Jesus! Where are you now and what do I do with this bleeding mess that is my life until you return?

And He is there because He hasn’t tarried in the empty sanctuary because the truth is you are His church – not that empty stained-glass room. And He doesn’t just love you and smile when you’re singing His praise – He is for you and with you with your face in your hands and the contents of your stomach rising.

He lived the mess. He lived the pain. He washed the feet of His betrayer. He pleaded with His best friends to stay awake, but He prayed alone as they slept. He heard His mother and brothers say they’d come to take Him home. And He took it on – all of it – the mess in your mind and in the hearts of everyone around you who will never get it right – He took it all on Himself.

Imagine the weight.

And He was broken, too. Broken for you. He didn’t do it for the beautiful choruses – He did it so He could be with you in the moments alone on your knees beating the floor and screaming into pillows when the agony of all that is wrong in this world threatens to steal your soul.

It can’t be stolen now because He has it sealed with Him – safe -until His return. Which is going to come.

And so, loved one, when the music fades and all is stripped away – worship is, after all, just about coming to Him – even if you’re writhing on your belly gasping for air just wishing we were all home and it was finally over.

You feel so alone but you are not. And it’s not just Him with you. There are others screaming, sobbing into their own hands. This desperate grasping for God is the worship that bleeds from our services into our workweek and we carry it with us like He bears the stripes on His back and the scars on His hands.

It comes from picking up our cross – not the shiny, golden necklace kind or the glittery, illuminated Christmas kind – but the splintering, back-crushing, heavy-laden cross that comes from loving God the Father and loving others and allowing ourselves to be broken by what breaks the heart of God.

One day, you know, we will rise with Him and it will be glorious, and we will be home. But we are not home yet, loved one.

Until then, it’s all right to let our worship bleed into our workweek for how else would we ever survive?

And sometimes our sobs are the best song because we cry out to Him. And sometimes our pain is the best prayer because we let it bring us to Him. And sometimes the knowledge that we aren’t enough is the message we were meant to hear so we would bring our emptiness to Him and be filled.

He never tires of taking our call. He isn’t repelled by these private anguishes and moanings. And His desire is to lift us from despair and hold our hearts together until He comes to claim us again.

We invoke Him with our sighs and He speaks a benediction over our private pain – a benediction of hope, of promise, and of a willingness to bear this weight if we will only place it on Him.

For He knows what we are made of.

He’s a Good Father and we are loved by Him. Carry that with you and let it lead you to worship through the week until we gather again.

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    The Conversation

  1. Heather Savage says:

    One of my favorite hymns, “I Must Tell Jesus” by Elisha Hoffman (1893) fits right in with this.

    I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
    I cannot bear these burdens alone;
    In my distress He kindly will help me,
    He ever loves and cares for His own.

    I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
    I cannot bear my burdens alone;
    I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
    Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

    I must tell Jesus all of my troubles,
    He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
    If I but ask Him He will deliver,
    Make of my troubles quickly an end.

    Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
    One who can help my burdens to bear;
    I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus:
    He all my cares and sorrows will share.

    What must I do when worldliness calls me?
    What must I do when tempted to sin?
    I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
    Over the world the vict’ry to win.

  2. Sandra Allen Lovelace says:

    Amen. I’ve been having similar thoughts … to the point of planning personal worship times throughout the week and they’re even bleeding into ongoing worship as I drive, cook, etc. It’s refreshing.

  3. Nico van der Merwe says:

    How encouraging to know I am not alone Lord Jesus, help me to walk my talk in humility this week.

  4. Rob McCullough says:

    Wow Lori, this is excellent! My heart was blessed and encouraged. He just dealt with a deeply rooted problem today and this a double blessing! Be encouraged! Be Richly Blessed!

  5. Terry & Patricia Lampel says:

    Amen! No need to say anymore.

  6. d says:

    Amen! Thank you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Again and again I am blessed by your blog. Thank you for your godly insight into the human condition.

  8. Debbie Gunnels says:

    Thank you, Lori for sharing this deeply revealing truth with us. Such transparency is not common! How often I have felt this exact same passion in worship and prayer while at the same time anguishing over my own weaknesses, memories of failures, pains and faults which are so very glaring, so very loud in my own head! I’ve been in ministry for about 35 years and in all that time, I have never heard anyone else ever speak of this as transparently as you have — and as real as I have experienced it! Thank you for letting me know I am not alone — not that I thought I was really alone, but no one else ever seemed to be able to relate to what I was saying, what I was feeling! Worship is so much more than singing, clapping, lifting up holy hands. It is a lifestyle lived for the One Who is worthy to receive all the glory and honor and praise and power… even while we who are the worshipers are aware of our imperfect lives. More glory to Him, Jesus, the Lamb of God! Thank you again, fellow worshiper of Jesus, for sharing your gift with us.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Amen! Thank you for putting into words what is in so many hearts.