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(RNS) — A friend of mine recently lost her daughter, an 8-month-old baby who was just beginning to get to know the world around her.
I saw my friend at church not long afterward, a grieving mother holding so much in and around her. As we entered the sanctuary, I could feel something in the air. It felt like grief lingered all around us.
Middle - Worship - Congregation - Jesus - Christmas
In the middle of worship, while the congregation was preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus at Christmas, my friend left the room.
I followed after her.
Church - Bathroom - Floor - People - Unsure
We ended up on the church’s bathroom floor, weeping together, as people came and went, unsure what to say to us. We chose to grieve together in that moment instead of holding things together for the sake of others’ comfort.
Church is often like that.
We celebrate together in worship but grieve alone.
That Sunday wasn’t the only time I’ve cried alone in the church bathroom, feeling invisible while the rest of the congregation celebrated.
Months - Worship - Grief - Anger - Songs
A few months earlier, I had walked out of worship, unable to hold my grief and anger inside. We’d been singing songs about a victorious God, a God with a white beard and gavel, ready to judge the earth and strike out sin in the hearts of people.
A God who cares about personal holiness but not about institutional injustice and abuse.
Questions - Version - God - Questions - Church
Those of us who are asking questions of this version of God, and asking questions of the church that worships him, often find it hard to inhabit places of worship. We are asking hard questions that many Christians are not willing to answer.
Who will notice the oppressed, and who will grieve for those who came before us, for those who were abused by the church in the name of God?
Day - Questions - Bathroom - Place
That day as I asked these questions, the bathroom was the safest place...
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