I used to believe that when at worship on Sunday morning I had to have this intense experience in the singing. Just singing the words was not enough, I had to feel them, it had to come from the depths of my being. As time passed, if I didn’t have this experience at worship, I felt like there was something wrong with my relationship with God. I felt like I had to conjure up this thing inside of me to “feel” the worship if my heart was not in it. Even just being open, if nothing happened, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I prayed earnestly for this experience to happen.
Since leaving these forms of worship I have come to a different place in my understanding of worship. My heart isn’t always in it but the liturgy always holds me. Sometimes I am just going through the motions. But that is absolutely OK. My being at worship doesn’t depend on my feelings, but God’s faithfulness. The liturgy holds me because it isn’t about what I do, but who God is, and how God relates to me. Through the proclamation of God’s saving grace in Jesus (Word) and through the visible Word of God (Sacrament), I am given the grace and strength to know that my faith doesn’t depend on my feelings at worship, but on a Jesus who is for me.
Now this is not to say that I don’t find myself moved at worship. Sometimes the songs or the words we hear move me, because it relates God’s unrelenting love for me. Sometimes I start to tear up or really experience it in the depths of my being. But, I don’t always have these intense feelings at worship. It’s just like I am not always overcome by intense feelings when I tell my children I love them. But they do need to hear it and I need to say it.