If you are a church-cry-er then you know what I'm talking about. Church + you = tears. I know I'm not the only one.
But why? Is the song really that beautiful? Is the message really that impacting? If it is, do you remember why you cried. Do you remember what it was about the message that stuck you right in the arm? Most of the time I don't. But there's something about church and that sacred hour that brings me (if i let it. if i'm willing.) to a soft place. A place of tears.
And I wonder sometimes what it is about church that makes me reflective... what is it about church that gets to me. It's not really a question about faith as much as it is a question about place. I'm a Christian at home, on the road, at the grocery store, at the mall and you don't find me sitting in the food court crying because I'm reflecting on what God has done in my life. (Though you may at any moment find me crying at a commercial.) So what is it? Is it a manipulation of sorts? Has the worship team and the pastor conjured up a fancy plan to get everybody sobbing? You know, even if they did, I don't think that's it.
No matter who you are, where you've been, what you've done... I believe that the church service is not the only reason that you may be moved on a Sunday morning. There is something that does happen (for me) at church that is harder to come by when I'm walking through the mall or watching another episode of 30 Rock. And that is focus.
At church I can focus.
And there are no better words to convey what I'm trying to say than those that come from this powerful line:
turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth.....
...will grow strangely dim...
...in the light of his glory and grace.
Our culture, better connected now than ever before, continuously offers us more and more endless possibilities all the time. This can be a great thing! But it can also beat us down, even when we feel we are being built up by it. The culture, our iPhones, our constant connectivity to the wonderful world wide web keeps us moving, moving, moving but perhaps moves us farther and farther away from a simpler focus on the One that keeps us grounded in spite of ourselves.
I think that's why I cry at church. Because for a brief moment in time, I have but only one focus. And it is Jesus. And the things of earth grow strangely dim.
At that moment, as I wipe my tears off on my husband's sleeve (partly to mess with him), I realize that what I'm experiencing is the perfect intersection between faith, life and rest that comes from the light of his glory and grace. And that moment's relief makes me cry because I know that is the hope that gets lost in this world...in my world.
Friend, if you feel lost, are lost, or are about to lose it - Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look FULL in his wonderful face, and the things of earth with grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace. (written by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922).