Happy or not

Psalm 120
I’ve had countless pastor-to-pastor conversations about worship. There’s a lot to discuss, after all. Most of our talk gets around to discipleship. How can we invite our congregations to deeper understandings of discipleship? Wondering aloud, we walk through various ideas and share our stories. One of those ideas involves setting the atmosphere of worship.

We look to create and nurture holy moments of worship and adoration. Our planning and preparation help us, of course.

By the way, you can help, too.

Ensure your pastor begins, sustains and finishes their planning and preparation with prayer. That’s what it takes to consider an entire congregation’s walk with God. And part of the atmosphere of worship is planning to recognize different attributes of God.

Have you noticed that?

One weekend you may hear about God’s grace. The next week might be a reflection on God’s justice. We aren’t teaching the Bible for instruction’s sake. We aren’t bouncing around random ideas. As the church, we’re focusing our faith on what we know about God.

As we prepare, we are mindful of what those characteristics might mean for our people. When I talk about God’s forgiveness, for example, I know there are some who struggle. They have a hard time accepting forgiveness from God or offering it to someone else. So, the different elements of worship become even more important. They are setting the atmosphere of worship in different ways. They guide each congregation’s worship.

That kind of atmospheric preparation is important. It recognizes the realm of emotions and experiences of your church. Just like God has many attributes, we bring our many sensibilities to worship, too. God did create us with an image of God within us!

Many times, though, we aren’t willing to explore those various feelings. Leaders want to create a happy atmosphere. We want everyone to be happy to be in church. In and of itself, there’s nothing too wrong with that. Only, doing so keeps us from opening ourselves up to the Lord’s healing.

What if people aren’t happy to be in church? Do we still want them there? Of course! The hope is for all our feelings to meet the presence of God.

Psalm 120 is the first of several songs of ascent. It’s thought these were songs used as people made their way to the temple to worship. They were pilgrimage songs. You’ll notice little happiness in Psalm 120. There isn’t much to celebrate for the psalmist. Despair and fear lead the way. But they are leading the way to worship.

If you’re not happy to be in worship, you don’t need to feel ashamed. Maybe that’s the day you’re dealing with anguish and pain. But do deal with it in worship. Let God’s Spirit help you appropriate what you’re feeling. Seek God’s healing as you pray and sing, listen and respond. You don’t have to be happy to be restored. But you will be happy when you are.

Stay blessed…john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Fletcher

Recent Posts


Social Links