Life is complicated. You didn’t need me to tell you that in order to know it’s true. For all our efforts to simplify, purify and distill we often find ourselves adding more layers to a mess that is already sufficiently layered.
Good intentions get muddled up in the execution. Idealism eventually hits the brick wall of reality and leaves us beat up and bruised – but give me the cuts and bruises, because a life without a few hope-filled convictions isn’t a life worth living.
One day the sun is shining and it seems as though that sunshine will never end. The very next day its pouring down rain.
One day we are surrounded by friends and well-wishers, the next, it’s an email box overflowing with bitterness and pain – or even worse, a Facebook wall that’s been splattered with the dramatic, angry graffiti of passive aggressive status updates – the really great part is when you read it and wonder who that is about only to realize that it’s about you! The most perplexing part is that often times the very things that we do to win favor with one group only alienates us from another – complicated.
Then comes the big stuff – life and death. Babies are born, and it’s so good. Nine months of hope, wonder and speculation come to fruition and in our arms we hold a son or daughter. As simple as the joy of holding your very own child for the first time is, the months and years that follow are anything but. Raising children is joyful, and painful, and frustrating – it’s complicated.
Even death isn’t simple. Most of us are not prepared for all the things, legal and otherwise, that death requires. Often times there are emotions that we thought were buried, but in fact they rise like zombies in the night of our sadness. Then there are the decisions – dozens of decisions must be made all the while entertaining grief, a most unwelcome guest. Complicated.
Add to all this the dust layer of the daily grind and it’s no wonder that we are truly a Prozac nation. There are papers to write, dinners to fix, batteries to change and jobs to find. There are ambitions to chase, marriages to enrich and peers to compete with – even though they don’t know we are competing with them! Complicated.
It’s no wonder we are fractured. It’s no wonder we feel pulled. We literally dissolve.
This is why our gathered worship times are so important. That thirty minute worship set is often the most sane half-hour that the people in our church will experience in a whole week. It’s literally therapy. Better than a $200.00 session.
For one, it’s confessional. When we worship, we acknowledge that there is in fact a God in heaven. When we orient ourselves around this one, central truth – other good has room to grow.
For two, it’s communal. In a fractured world, there is power in what “we” can all sing.
For three, it’s formational. As fractured people, there is power in worshipping God body, soul and spirit. There is perhaps no other moment when “we” can be in such perfect harmony with ourselves.
This is why we sing. This is why we, the artists, must write. We are the poets for the brokenhearted. We are composers, that with the help of the Spirit, bring lyric, meter and melody (order) to a complicated, fractured life.