Actually, I am not sure I will be able to sing this afternoon at all. Since being kicked out of our former choir, I have a very bad track record for singing without crying. It is humiliating enough to cry through a church service sitting in the back row where I can slip out if I want to. How much more humiliating to be crying while standing on a riser in front of the entire congregation!
Two years ago Jerry and I exposed heresy and just plain meanness by the leadership of our former church (my church of 39 years). The leadership excoriated us from the pulpit by name: “Jessica Renshaw and her husband.” They forbade people to read what we wrote on our blog hisscribbler.blogspot.com or receive emails from us or talk with us. Without coming to us and asking why, many of our friends turned their backs on us.
Among the more personal rejections was a letter from the star bass in the choir who had sung beside Jerry for years. We knew him well, respected him. He mailed us a long hurtful letter saying among other things that we were “hypocrites, ” that we were not worthy to sing the praises of Almighty God. We took his letter to the choir director. She agreed with him and asked us to “repent or leave.” Since we couldn’t repent of “bringing the deeds of darkness into the light for My judgment” when commanded to do so by God, we dropped out of choir–and later were publicly “dis-membered.”(That’s what it felt like, too!)
We had changed churches since then but this is the first time we have sung in another choir. Whenever I practice our music for today’s service that phrase–that curse–keeps running through my mind. “Hypocrite! You are not worthy to sing God’s praises! You are NOT WORTHY!”
I know I am not worthy. So why can’t I get beyond that judgment and sing because I love God and I know He wants to hear me, even me, praise Him? Why haven’t I been able to sing since then–in church or out–without crying?
I’ve given up asking God to keep me from crying through church services, through the songs about Him that touch me so deeply, through the songs that we sang at the old church, through the songs expressing grief and sorrow over sin and the songs expressing joy at His provision of forgiveness.
Now I pray (and ask you to pray for me) that I will sing to Him whether I cry or not, whether I feel humiliated or not. Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him. Because He is the Creator of all things and I am one of them.
Because. He. Is. Worth. It!
Grace Grieving 2: Not welcome in choir, Feb. 12, 2012 http://hisscribbler.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-02-15T08:01:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=130&by-date=false