Some Brief Reflections from This Morning’s Hymns

I was particularly struck by a few hymns this morning. Twice I teared up a bit as we sang. The first time came from “Gather Us In”. The lines were

Gather us in – the rich and the haughty;
Gather us in – the proud and the strong;
Give us a heart so meek and so lowly;
Give us the courage to enter the song.

I think it hit me because the lines weren’t what I expected. After “the rich and the haughty”, I expected “the humble and poor” to follow, but it doesn’t. We’re not gathering in people who are already what they’re supposed to be. The church and in the presence of and relationship with God isn’t the place where we’re all right. It’s the place where we’re broken and arrogant and foolish and messed up. You’re not what you’re supposed to be? Good. That’s the place where you can learn and grow and ask for a right heart. The song you’re entering into isn’t about being perfect but about the journey of becoming something more.

The other song that hit me was “Will You Come and Follow”.

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?

How much we hide because we’re afraid… “I can’t stop this sin; I’m such a bad person…” “Can’t let ’em see me fail!” “If they really knew what I’m like, they’d be so angry.” “I can’t burden everyone with all my stuff.” I’m not really presentable, they all say. The real me? That’s not okay.

But the real us is the one that Jesus is calling. Our real names aren’t the ones that we create and display to the world. They’re the ones that say who we really are, and if that’s the person that shows up, the “you” you hide, even if it terrifies us to the core, that’s when we can become something more.

I want to love the real me, but I’m also pretty scared there are some parts of me that aren’t lovable. Having those parts show up is sometimes just too frightening, and I can’t do it. But once in a while, maybe I can show up and trust that someone really could love me like that. And maybe then I’ll never be the same.

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