Not for the first time in recent years I have found myself loosing the will to live when it comes to choosing hymns and songs for worship. It has nothing to do with the age of the material available, nothing to do with the musicians, nothing to do with the setting really, but a lot to do with me and how I find I relate to God.
I find deep within myself a silent longing, a longing so deep that it moves beyond words and cannot call a 5 hymn prayer sandwich, even with creativity, deep worship and while I lead this type of worship service every week and strive to make it meaningful for all concerned, and I know from feedback that this does happen, I yearn for something more.
I am hungry for God, not a concept or an idea, or a set of how to rules for living, but for the living God who has made and formed me, the God who knows me inside out and loves me anyway. There are times when I simpy want to say to the gathered congregation " let's go climb a mountain and sit and wait, let's watch the sun move across the sky, let's breathe the air, let's simply be."
Or let's share a meal and chew over this Bible passage, let's mine it for treasures together...
...let's watch a fim... let's ponder a painting, a poem, a place, let's look for God together...
I also yearn for silence, both solitary and corporate, a place where I can let the clamour of even my voice(s) fall away and find the still small voice in the depth of my soul and beyond the edges of the universe.
I think this longing comes from a number of needs within me, first a need to connect my life, my real life with the God I worship, to find that God in the mundane everydayness of stuff, in the joys and sorrows, in the frustrations and celebrations, in the big and the small things.
It also comes from a real engagement with the gritty stuff of life where there are no easy balck and white answers, where struggle is an everyday experience for the people I love and serve and so becomes an everyday experience for me. When we close the church doors on a cold December evening and say goodbye to folk we know ill be sleeping rough religious platitudes are not merely empty they are insulting. Sometimes we find God more easily through our tears and groaning than our praises. When there are no easy answers, where the rubber hits the road I need to dig deep or I will loose my faith entirely.
I find that I am finding God more these days in poetry and art, in creation in films, music ( not hymns), novels, and more. I see God at work in and through others and am often humbled by what I see and encounter...
... and more than anything I want to escape "I", this post is full of I's and ( here comes another one) I want it to be more about God than me; that is my silent longing! I guess it isn't silent anymore.