Worship and Grief – do they belong together?

In my book, Grieving Hearts in Worship I invite readers to consider and even challenge some of their ways of thinking regarding worship and how we grieve as people of faith.  Here is a small excerpt from Chapter 3:

“Through the act of omission, many of our worship services directly and indirectly place barriers between ourselves, God, and our communities, causing a growing disconnect from our experience of grief and our relationship with God. The Reformed Tradition echoes the scriptural understanding that we are to worship God with our whole being. We are to bring all that we are to God. However, if grief is seldom acknowledged in a worship setting, and if the bereaved are encouraged to remain silent and individualistic about their grief experience, then how can they fully worship God? If we are leaving the most painful aspects of our lives out of our worship together, then how can our lives truly be transformed?

With the increasing trend for funeral services to take place at funeral homes rather than in churches, the disconnection only widens between worship, God, and the bereaved. Again, “What makes it possible for congregations and the families and individuals within them to grieve in such a way that leads to healing, wholeness and the experience of God’s transformative presence?” The answer is found in how we worship. One’s grief cannot be left outside of the sanctuary or other faith community gatherings of worship. We must take a new look at the rituals of worship and how they can provide a threshold or entry point to experiencing God’s presence and healing.”

I hope you will not only read my book, but that you will join in an on-going dialogue about the relationship between grief and worship, and the role of rituals on the path of healing. Here is the link for purchasing the book http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000505122/Grieving-Hearts-in-Worship.aspx it will take you right to my publisher’s on-line bookstore and the page for my book.

Holding you in the light of God’s healing love,

Michael