We hear a lot of talk about how churches should be diverse. How Jesus breaks down the barriers of ethnicity, age, economic status, and academic knowledge. All these things are true, but I think there’s one place we forget to look for diversity within our church service.
We come to the church from different places. I am not speaking of location, but walks of life. What I would really like to focus on is how people can worship together with some coming from a place of loss and another a place of celebration.
Romans 12:15 says Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” This is a great verse that I think we need not take lightly. It’s a verse that I like to think through when it comes to worshiping together on Sunday.
What does it mean to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? I don’t think it’s too complex. I think it means when people are celebrating something in life you need to celebrate with them. The converse means to recognize the hurt with people who are struggling.
There are a lot of times that we are good at this. We see someone hurting and attempt to comfort them. We pray with them, and we asked them how they’re doing. If we find out that there is something that they need, maybe we give it to them.
But it’s not just about comfort, it’s also about taking into consideration how they’re feeling and feel that way with them. If someone has had a great loss and is hurting emotionally we hurt for them and with them. We think through how they are feeling and we take on a small portion of that emotion which allows us to be sympathetic to them and allows us to serve them better.
We also must rejoice with those who rejoice. In some ways I think this may be the harder thing for us to do. Sometimes it’s hard to celebrate with those who are celebrating something that we may never have been able to experience.
Maybe they are getting married and we have never been married. Someone is having a child and we can’t have children. Perhaps they received a new job and we are still unemployed. Regardless, we need to be people who celebrate with those who are celebrating.
So how does this little verse affect the way we worship together? I think it tells us that when we come together on Sunday to corporately worship Jesus, that we need to remember that there are almost always people who are rejoicing and people weeping within our congregation. Any given Sunday there will be people who are going through both of these phases of life.
So how can we be considerate of one another when some of us are coming from different phases of life? To the person who is celebrating, remember there are those who are weeping. How do we remember that? That there are times when we sing songs of solemn reflection that may not apply to us at that time. Or times when we may be calling out for God‘s provision and mercy when we feel like we have all we need. We need to remember those in want, and those who are hurting.
To those who are weeping, we need to remember that there are those who are celebrating. There may be songs of celebration that bring a bitter taste to our mouth because of the tragedy that we are going through, but there are those who are celebrating things that God has done in their lives. We need to allow them to celebrate around us, even as we are fighting through the pain.
The practical way we can do this is at church is to sing to one another. Now, of course we come singing to God and Jesus. But we also sing the truths of who God is and what He will do for each of us. … “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” ( Ephesians 5:19) .
This week when you are at church and look around, notice those who are celebrating and those who are weeping. There will be those who have gained this last week and those who have lost. Let us not be frustrated with the fact that others are not like us. Let us worship together from both sides of the church as one.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.