Lately church has been giving me ALL the feels.
I’m not sure if its my over-tired body breaking down on a Sunday night or what, but the past few sermons have found me wiping away a tear or two– if not ugly-crying into my hands–during the closing worship.
Whether it is the words from the message resonating in my heart, difficult decisions bubbling up and tugging at the corners of my being, or feeling generally overwhelmed by it all, everything I push away during the week usually spills over during these quiet moments.
Last Sunday night I was exhausted from the excitement of the weekend while deeply saddened it was over (why do those dang-good nights fly by so fast??). Mentally and physically I was drained, and I found myself nodding off over and over again during what was actually a pretty amazing sermon on transformation.
I sat there after the closing, fighting to stay awake during worship, fighting to find something that resonated, when one of the pastors interrupted the song.
“Sure, we struggle,” he said, “We bring our burdens to the Lord. We can ask him for what we need. But do you know this? It is okay to go to him with just praise.”
It was a shot to the heart. In that very moment on a sleepy, rainy Sunday, I realized I didn’t always have to find the fight in every situation. I didn’t have to glean the lesson from every wound and scar. I didn’t have to strive for better or seek a path to get there.
Instead some nights I am invited to just open my hands and praise. Simply praise.
We have burdens and battles, sorrows aplenty. But instead of carrying them around all the time and sinking slowly into the ground under the weight of the hustle, we are invited to gently lay them aside, if only for a little–
and just praise.
We’re given the opportunity to lift up our hands, to open our eyes a bit wider to the blessings in our lives, to say thank you and instead be filled with the joy and excitement and pure elation that comes from being alive, accepted, and home.
So this Thanksgiving, wherever you are, whomever you are with, look around the table. Find gratitude in the plate heaping with food, cup filled to the brim with wine (or cranberry margaritas for our crew), in the warmth of the bodies around you, in the golden glow of the candles and the snow or desert heat or coastal breeze outside your door.
In the tap-tap of your heartbeat against the bones in your chest, in the souls on the other end of the phone line, the ones who can’t be where you are on this night. In the fuzzy dog laying across your tired feet. Just praise.
I’m not saying this to belittle your circumstances. No. We all face darkness I know we would rather not.
Instead I am asking us all–and giving myself permission in the process–to simply lay it to rest for one night, and praise.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.