I’ll be honest. After this week’s appalling act of hate in Charleston, South Carolina, it’s hard to tune my mind towards intimacy. Reading news stories and watching videos, I am marked by anger and lament. The image of joyful adoration of our Savior is the last thing on my mind.
But we all know that worship takes many forms, and I believe that God delights when we worship in spirit and in truth, which includes worshipping through lament. There has been a lot of worship in spirit, truth, and lament this week.
At a prayer vigil at Morris Brown AME church on Thursday, those gathered remembered God’s story as they sang “We Shall Overcome.” When the vigil grew quiet, crowds outside raised their voices with “This Little Light of Mine.” Last night, many gathered around Emanuel AME church with bagpipes and choruses of “Amazing Grace.“
Alongside the outpouring of hate has been hope. At the initial hearing of the perpetrator yesterday, several family members of the 9 victims offered forgiveness and asked God to have mercy on his soul (CNN video).
Could we be any closer to worship? To a sense of intimacy with both God and one another?
Tomorrow, when you gather for worship at your Covenant church, do not forget your brothers and sisters who mourn. Stand with them in worship by celebrating God’s story of redemption. Stand with them and express worship that brings you closer to God and to them. Stand with them as a united community of Christ’s followers.
How does lament impact the intimacy of your worship?
Melissa L. Emerson is a recent graduate of North Park Theological Seminary. Having served as a worship leader at her home church, she is passionate about people connecting to God on Sunday morning and seeing it lived out throughout the week. She and her husband are from Mosaic Community Covenant Church of Sugar Land, TX, have been worshipping at Immanuel Evangelical Covenant Church of Chicago, IL, and will be soon serving together in Kansas City, MO.