desperation and worship
do you ever feel like your worship is so much more intense when you find yourself in a desperate situation or circumstance in life? or, on the flip side, if you don’t think you’ve ever been that desperate in life (perhaps, you’ve led a pretty comfortable life?) do you ever look at other folks who worship so intensely and wonder why or how they can let themselves go like that?
i often think about this connection between our experienced or felt “need” for god and how it often relates to our expressions in worship, both individually and corporately. i remember growing up as a young child, remembering the congregation at my church (a lower middle- class immigrant church) just wailing away in corporate prayer….i mean, just wailing and beseeching god as if their lives depended upon every word and tear! frightened me at the time but thinking back, these folks were DESPERATE! as well, many of the african-american churches that i have been apart of have rung with similar timbres of such desperation. both of these experiences seem to be under-girded with a kind of worship in the midst of struggles –identity, social, economic, etc..
there is something really raw about this that i find myself constantly grasping after. what does it mean to “depend” on god if we know ourselves to be self-sufficient? would we approach someone differently if we were asking them for food and shelter because we’ve lost our job and have been evicted from our home as opposed to asking the same person to help raise funds for our child’s girl scout troop by buying some cookies? of course.
in this way, how do we approach god? is god someone who merely adds depth or meaning to our lives or do we know god as our sustainance, our very breath, the one in whom we find our identity or personhood? in our corporate worship, is there space to allow for such worship? so many people around us are struggling, suffering, desperate for god and sadly, many struggle quietly and alone. do our churches allow for these moments of desperate encounters with god?
would love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences on this….