Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"the honest cries of breaking hearts..."

"We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than an hallelujah..."

Disclaimer: This is my love letter to my church family....I know that we each find the worship community that best meets us where we are, and walks us another step forward in our spiritual journey. I am just so deeply grateful to have discovered a circle of fellowship that stirs me to an even deeper desire to commune with God, and to serve others.

I don't know that I can say what is in my heart any better than Amy Grant's "
Better than an Hallelujah."

I felt the power of its message resonating in our Wednesday church service the other night. But, in truth, it's always there. I never fail to feel it in a friend's unexpected kindness, in the deep collective sigh that fills our worship space when we surrender social reserve, for the touch of something unspoken. I feel it in that extra moment of silence following the Lord's Prayer, in the voice of a visitor as she tells her story, in the soft April breeze that carries our music onto the sidewalk, in the thoughtfulness that characterizes our circle of fellowship. I feel it in the profound respect I see expressed for each participant's gifts...without partiality, or any sense of hierarchy. I feel it in our shared laughter, and our shared tears.

We are small in numbers, but the genuine love, trust, and compassion I feel, each time I cross the threshold of our little urban storefront church, is always "better than an hallelujah..." for me. It is as if we truly see ourselves...and each childlike, innocent, and full of joy when we are in one another's company.

"The tears of shame
for what's been done,
a silence when the words won't come
are better than an hallelujah...
better than a church bell ringing,
better than a choir singing..."

Sometimes, when we reach the end of a service, I feel like I've actually witnessed the Master himself restoring lost hope, lifting the broken, forgiving the adulteress, ministering from the cross. There is such love - among us - for his life, his example...his message of self-sacrifice, service, and charity.

In our sweet sanctuary, I've discovered all manner of Love...kindness illuminating even the darkest corner, mercy perfuming the air, charity opening wide the prison doors, and humility feeding the famished affections. I've seen it, and, more importantly, I've experienced it. I have watched one mother comforting another, a child holding the hand of a lonely senior, a homeless visitor sitting in front of a plate piled high with the bounty from a potluck feast...while he feeds our hunger to give. It's in the naked candor of heartfelt sharing, eye contact across a quiet room, the respect for honest questioning. And it's better than an hallelujah...sometimes.

In this sacred space, I have felt the words of the hymn:

"Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven..."

And I can tell you, with every fiber of my being that, for me, it is better than an hallelujah...all the time.

I am so grateful for my church family. It is exactly what I need. I feel like a happy child there. For me, it is home. One that is always filled with Love.

Ever grateful...


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