I took seven years of vocal training as a kid. If you’ve met me in person, this shouldn’t surprise you.
I’m loud. I can project. I have things to say and often do so.
But this past Sunday and for a month of Sundays proceeding it, I can’t project and I can’t sing. I have a weak voice that can’t do much more than talk and even that’s a stretch by the end of the day.
This is due to an emotional October combined with a stubborn chest cold that’s left my throat in tatters.
This past Sunday was particularly frustrating, because our old worship leader returned to lead worship and brought with him some of my life’s favorite songs.
I wanted to sing, really sing along to those words that have soundtracked entire seasons of my life. I wanted my voice to match the passion in my heart and the tapping of my toes.
Yet, I could only softly squeak along.
The thought occurred to me not to sing at all, but I quickly dismissed it.
Because I had to add my voice to the song. I couldn’t keep it inside, as weak as it was.
And after all, doesn’t the church need all the voices?
This goes so far beyond singing and chest colds, doesn’t it? It extends into who we are as we gather together, and what we feel brave enough to bring through the doors.
There are still many who secretly believe that when one is feeling gray, depressed, anxious, scared, or small that they should keep it at home or at least keep it to themselves.
Sometimes I still have a pinching feeling that on some level, we believe church is a place for the “all togethers” to gather around how good it all is.
But that’s a dangerous and crappy belief. I want to figure out where it lives and oust it with torches.
Church is a place for the as is people to gather around Jesus before showing him to the world.
And Jesus wanted the broken, the sick, the tear stained sinners barely scraping along. The broken flocked to him and brought their junk along with them. They found safety there.
Let’s resurrect that, let’s make it happen. Let’s speak words in church that don’t only speak to the seasons that make sense, but the ones that feel like utter chaos.
Church is a place for the broken
a place for the anxious
a place for the doubters
a place for the angry
a place for the weary ones with runny mascara
a place for the real life people with real life breaking hearts
Let’s talk about how all the time good God is but let’s also talk about what a hard phrase that really is. Because it really and truly is, isn’t it? Entire years have gone by when I couldn’t utter those words.
The church needs all the voices. The church IS all the voices.
And we need to believe that when it’s all falling apart, we still belong here. That church is a safe place for all our broken questions, our messy lives, our miles of baggage.
So sing with your weak voice beloved, because you belong.
May we share stories and tissues and a firm belief that the broken, weak ones belong in the midst of their mess.
May they come and show us the the beautiful strength only the weak ones can and in doing so may we believe that when our lives crumble, we can stand too.