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Rejoicing Alongside Lament

Read: Ezra 3:10-13

The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping. (v. 13)

We like to think that our worship of God is emotionally simple. For example, when we are happy, we sing loud, joyful songs. When we desire intimacy with God, we sing slower, quieter songs. But anytime you put a bunch of different people in a room, things get much more complicated. Some of us have come ready to sing and shout for joy. Others have come with wounds so fresh and so deep that all we really want to do is weep. But often there is no space in our worship for lament. What would it look like for us to intentionally rejoice and weep with and for others in worship?

After returning from exile, God’s people rebuilt their temple. They had finally come home and were able to worship God in their own temple again. There was an overwhelming sense of joy, especially among those who were younger. And yet, as with any change, there was also palpable grief. Things would never be like they used to be, and that was reason enough to be sad, especially for the elderly among them who remembered the splendor of Solomon’s temple.

Part of worship is hospitality. In worship, God is our host. And we too can make choices about how hospitable we will be to others who are worshipping next to us. Can we allow space in our worship to allow others to grieve?

As you pray, ask God to show you how to worship not just for yourself, but with and for others.

About the Author

Steven Rodriguez lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife and four children.

This entry is part 4 of 15 in the series Worship: From Silence to Song
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