Here lately, every time I hear the familiar chords of an old hymn at church, tears prick my eyes, and it's a real struggle not to ugly cry in the middle of the sanctuary. It's the darnedest thing. Given the sidelong glances she gives me every time it happens, I'm pretty sure that our youngest daughter is seriously worried about me.
After the year that we've had, it's just so sweet to gather with the saints and sing praise to the Lord out loud. Together. Singing in a mask isn't my most favorite thing, but it's way better than watching church in our living room, and my soul knows it.
The truth is that I see the gospel with more clarity and depth than I did before. Now, when I sing, I feel all the feels all at once, and it spills out in the form of tears. The downside to all this emotion is that it's really hard to sing when you're fighting back tears, but on the upside, since we're properly social-distanced and all wearing masks, no one can hear me clearly anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, we sang "Victory in Jesus," and the words have been on repeat in my head and heart ever since. To the world, proclaiming victory in the middle of the mess might seem a bit presumptuous, but to the faithful, it's everything.
Jesus is our victory, and proclaiming it week after week in the company of the redeemed does something to our hearts. It turns sorrow to joy and despair to hope. It's a balm to my weary soul, and I'm more grateful for it than I ever knew to be before.
Worshiping together with our church family is bringing me so much joy these days. Those tears that I cry every Sunday morning are happy tears, and I'm finding that the words of Proverbs 17:22 are true: "A joyful heart is good medicine." Even in the midst of a global pandemic.
I don't know if you're back in church yet, but if not, I hope that you'll soon get to return to worship with them again, and I pray most of all that we would be a people whose lips overflow with praise and hearts leap with joy.
Today, tomorrow, and forevermore.