Joy Comes in the Mourning – A Worship Set for the Broken and Weary

Joining the Saints

I sat down on the church pew just in time for the service to begin. The organ kicked off a thunderous prelude. The pipes bellowed, sending birds and mice scrambling from their tubular homes, screaming, “Everybody run! This is the end!” Or so I imagined.

No sooner did I lean back in my seat then the worship leader asked the congregation to stand up and sing a praise song to God about how much we trust Him. Woah, slow down there big fella, I thought. There were some great moments this week, but there were some really difficult moments as well.

What was I supposed to do with the challenges, doubts, fears, insecurities, and shame that I brought with me from my week? Are those not welcome in church? There was no time to think. I joined everyone else in standing, forced a big grin on my face and nodded to those around me to show them how happy I was.

I tried to join in the song but I couldn’t sing with confidence, “All I want to do is praise Your name.” Thinking about the words made me feel like a fraud. I went through the motions but my heart wasn’t in it.

Looking for Sinners

Weary

See, the problem was I spent half the week feeling run over, beaten down, and belittled by others. And the other half of the week I was running over, beating down, and belittling others.

How could I suddenly praise God? I barely even knew Him by the time Sunday arrived. I  didn’t feel comfortable acting like a saint. Where was the worship service for sinners?

What I’ve come to realize is, as much as I love my church community and the church service, I need a safe space to express my brokenness in the presence of God. I need to not only know He accepts me in all my imperfection, I need to experience it.

Trying to cover up my sorrow and pain with “happiness”, as I do when I put on a happy face at church, doesn’t work. The sorrow and pain is sure to bubble up again at the first sign of trouble. It’s no wonder I’m often barely out of the church parking lot before I catch myself speaking harshly to my son or criticizing my wife.

I didn’t like going to church and hiding my brokenness from God, as if my wretchedness is too much for Him to handle. That’s exactly what shame wants. Shame thrives in the darkness. Instead, I wanted to share everything with God, even my brokenness and shame, and feel His loving acceptance of me – the real me.

The Practice

So, recently I’ve been setting aside time on Sunday morning to invite God to be with me just as I am. I go through a worship playlist that cultivates a welcoming and accepting atmosphere where I can seek reconciliation with God.

I’ve found not only does God accept me in my brokenness, but He transforms my sorrow into joy! Often, once I’m done, I’m ready to walk into church and praise Him like I mean it.

(If you resonate with any of this, feel free to use the below practice for yourself).

 


How to use the Worship for the Broken and Weary Set List

As you play each song below, you may want to passionately sing along, allow yourself to cry, or sit quietly in reflection.

If a song is not helpful, skip it. This is not about being legalistic or perfect. The goal is to be with Jesus, just as we are. It takes courage to acknowledge the difficult emotions, isolation, and brokenness we might be feeling.

Like the prodigal son, when we are ready, we can sprint, saunter, limp, or roll back to Jesus.

Father, I’m not sure You can handle my brokenness. Help me trust You.

Give me the courage to express my struggles and through Your healing presence, transform my sorrow into joy!


Estimated time to go through the entire set: 35 minutes.
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REFLECTION

As we listen to the following song, we might want to reflect on the ways we’ve experienced pain or suffering recently. Or maybe moments will come to our mind when our words or actions inflicted pain on others.

SONG OF SUFFERING

All I Really Want by Alanis Morissette

Do I stress you out?

My sweater is on backwards and inside out
and you say how appropriate
I don’t want to dissect everything today
I don’t mean to pick you apart you see
But I can’t help it
There I go jumping before the gunshot has gone off
Slap me with a splintered ruler
And it would knock me to the floor if I wasn’t there already
If only I could hunt the hunter

And all I really want is some patience
A way to calm the angry voice
And all I really want is deliverance

Do I wear you out
You must wonder why I’m relentless and all strung out
I’m consumed by the chill of solitary
I’m like Estella
I like to reel it in and spit it out
I’m frustrated by your apathy
And I am frightened by the corrupted ways of this land
If only I could meet the Maker
And I’m fascinated by the spiritual man
I am humbled by his humble nature

What I wouldn’t give to find a soulmate
Someone else to catch this drift
And what I wouldn’t give to meet a kindred

Enough about me, let’s talk about you for a minute
Enough about you, let’s talk about life for a while
The conflicts, the craziness and the sound of pretenses
Falling all around… all around

Why are you so petrified of silence
Here can you handle this?
Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines
Or when you think you’re gonna die
Or did you long for the next distraction
And all I need now is intellectual intercourse
A soul to dig the hole much deeper
And I have no concept of time other an it is flying
If only I could kill the killer

All I really want is some peace man
A place to find a common ground
And all I really want is a wavelength
All I really want is some comfort
A way to get my hands untied
And all I really want is some justice

Written by Glen Ballard, Alanis Nadine Morissette • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, The Bicycle Music Company

REFLECTION

As we listen to the following song, we might want to mourn the distance we feel from others or from God. We may want to cry out to God for our suffering to end or our brokeness to be healed.

SONG OF LAMENT

How Long by BiFrost Arts
How long?
Will You turn Your face away?
How long?
Do You hear us when we pray?
On and on, still we walk this pilgrim way – How long?
How long ’til Your children find their rest?
How long ’til You draw them to Your breast?
We go on holding to Your promises – How long?
(Refrain)
‘Til You wipe away the tears from ev’ry eye
‘Til we see our home descending from the sky
Do we wait in vain?
Jesus, give us hope again!
How long ’til Your word will still the storm?
How long ’til You bare Your mighty arm?
How we groan ’til You snatch us from the thorns – How long?
How long? Sweet the dawn that ends the race.
How long? Weak our hearts but strong our legs.
Looking on – great that cloud of witnesses! How long?
Amen,
Jesus come.
from Lamentations, released March 1, 2016
words and music by Isaac Wardell

CONFESSION

God, forgive us. Our vulnerable communion with each other is not always visible to the world. We act as though we do not need one another. We do not always love others. We do not know and bear one another’s burdens. We fail to build each other up. We do not always give ourselves willingly and joyfully to one another. Forgive us, and strengthen us so that we may live vulnerably in the community that you grant us.

Adapted from the works of Barbara Hedges – Goettl.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Carry Me by Audrey Assad

Pain is a forest we all get lost in
Between the branches hope can be so hard to see
And in the darkness we’ve all got questions
We’re all just trying to make sense out of suffering but

You say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe
As I carry this cross, You’ll carry me
Help me believe it

Fear is a current we all get caught in
And in its motion faith can be so hard to find
And we all falter ’cause we’re all broken
We’re all just trying to turn the shadows into light but

You get glory in the midst of this
And You’re walking with me
And you say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe
As I carry this cross, You’ll carry me

And I know Your promises are faithful
And God, I’ve seen Your goodness in my life
And oh, I’ve found Your mercy is a river
Your love is an ocean wide

You say I am blessed because of this
You get glory in the midst of this
And You’re walking with me

And You say I am blessed because of this
So, I choose to believe
As I carry this cross, as I carry this cross
‘Cause as I carry this cross, You’ll carry me

You’ll carry me, God
You’ll carry me
And Your love is an ocean wide

Written by: Audrey Assad, Phillip Larue

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Through Christ, we are reconciled and united with God.
Thanks be to God for the Good News:
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Amen.

Adapted from the works of Barbara Hedges – Goettl.

PRAISE

Multiplied by NEEDTOBREATH
Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
These Halleluiahs be multiplied
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
Songwriters: Nathaniel Rinehart / William Rinehart
Multiplied lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

BENEDICTION

The Lord’s Prayer by Stuart Townend

Our Father God in heaven above,
Your holy name be honoured;
Your kingdom come, your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us our transgressions,
As freely we forgive the debts
Of those who sin against us.

Yours is the kingdom
Forever more, amen,
The power and the glory
Forever more, amen,
Forever more, amen.

And keep us from temptation’s hour,
Deliver us from evil,
The strength to stand when Satan’s power
Would rise against your people.
And Jesus, teach us how to pray,
To plead the cause of heaven,
With humble hearts that learn to stay
Forgiving and forgiven.

Keith Getty & Stuart TownendCopyright © 2014 Getty Music Publishing (BMI) and Townend Songs (Adm. by Song Solutions info@songsolutions.org)

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, be with us this week as we learn to love our family, neighbors and enemies, just as You love us, even in our brokenness. In your perfect timing may you guide us to a church community where we feel safe to practice the courageous act of vulnerability that You modeled for us. And may we find comfort in Your unconditional love each and every day.

Amen.

 


Photo Credit: rhome_music Flickr via Compfight cc


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