Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Journey Continues: the Mystery of Faith in Worship

For those of you who are following me on this journey of faith (or sometimes a lack of faith), I wished to reveal that I had a moment of even further confusion today.  

As I have shared about my disbelief in specific aspects of the bible, and how I struggle with the truth of God, or even the historicity of a man named Jesus, I find that there is a paradox in all of this for me. The paradox is in the act of worship. How can I, going through this journey of doubt and questions, continue to worship that which I may doubt? 

The answer is - I have no clue.

Maybe it's because I have a flair for the dramatic, and in the traditional liturgical worship environment, there is drama. There is a script that we follow, printed before us. There are actors in the clergy that are robed (costumed) for the play. There is a story that goes along, from our corporate act of confession and forgiveness, to the act of listening to God's Word read and preached, and then our response to that in the offering and Communion. You see, it all is an act - a play. And we are all participants. And, with that aforementioned flair for the dramatic, that appeals to me. 

Yet, I don't feel it's an act. I don't sit there or stand, or sing, or recite the liturgy, feeling that I'm acting. And that confuses me. I write that I sometimes doubt the very core of my faith, yet I willingly, joyfully, and with reverence, come to the Table with a sense that I belong, and I'm not being untrue to myself, or to my doubts. 

But why?

As I pondered this thought this morning - and as I write this - I can only think of two answers: 
  • I was raised in worship. Thankfully, I was raised in a home of faith where church was mandatory (as a child), and I continued with as a youth and young adult. And now as my kids are teens, I avoid the mandatory attendance rule. But I am pleased when they do attend, or perform the duties of an acolyte, which they both do so well. More than that, I am hoping the by attending they get that core Truth, and that when they hit their time of struggling with what they believe and why, the core is there. That being said, the worship experience has been part of my life all of my life.
  • Maybe there's something real in the worship that transcends my disbelief, and reaches out for something that is intangible, and my worship - despite my doubts - is fueled by that Unseen. My MIND may have its doubts, but my soul does not. 
I am often critical of those who say "I didn't get ANYTHING out of church today", as if church was entertainment, and their sole reason to attend was to be entertained. But I think we only get out of worship that which we put in. It isn't a "God, I'm here. Entertain me. Feed me. Answer MY prayer" type of thing. Instead, worship is us saying to God "I am here for YOU", and allow ourselves to be open to His Word and to His Voice within that experience.

We NEED to worship. It is in the listening of His Word revealed, and finally, in our response to that Word that we find something that is both elusive and real. And even with my doubts, my soul understands, and reaches out for something that is familiar, yet never the same. The paradox of my life, my faith, is not completely satisfied in the liturgical worship experience, but for that hour, the focus of my life is not on MY life, but on my relationship with the One whom I seek the answers from. And for that hour, the paradox is revealed and welcomed. Because it is within that paradox that I find the Truth.

Soli Deo Gloria

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