When worship is disturbing

This post originally appeared in September of 2012.

Years ago, when I first became a Christian, worship meant happy. I equated it with warm fuzzies and an emotional high tied to the music. If worship didn’t have those basic ingredients, something was wrong, and it obviously wasn’t worship.

It never occurred to me that worship might have the opposite effect.

My husband and I have been certified lay speakers in the Methodist Church. We sat through a weekend of classes that then qualified us to stand at the pulpit in our church and share a message. My husband preached more than I, and he is dang good at it. After one sermon, he expressed a frustration. Everyone came to him after, shook his hand with a warm smile and said, “That was a wonderful message.” And then they’d walk out happily into their Sunday afternoon, chattering about where to go to lunch that day.

My very wise husband said, “If I’m really doing my job right, then I should be making them uncomfortable.”

Sometimes worship disturbs me and sometimes it affirms me. I prefer affirming. The warm fuzzies emerge and all is well with the world. But if I want to progress in my faith, I need to be disturbed. Something needs to spur me onto something greater, rather than encouraging me to stay put and relish in the happy feelings and all the good in me.

I want to be a better Christian. I want to be able to love God more fully and offer grace to my neighbor. In order to do that, sometimes my boat needs to be rocked a bit. I need that slap in the face that all is not well with the world and I need to make some changes.

It’s not pretty, but it’s necessary if I want to become like Jesus.


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