As we were driving through the middle of this great country last week, I got caught up on some reading. I read this article about the effects of grief on worship with a quote from Steven Curtis Chapman that I read aloud to Aaron and has stuck with me ever since:
"Every time we lead worship standing in front of a group, there's a good chance that half of them are 'on the road marked with suffering' and there's going to be 'pain in their offering.' But, I believe that as followers of Jesus, the one who has overcome death, not only are we invited to grieve, but I think we grieve at a deeper level. I mean, Jesus said, 'I've come that you might have life and have it to the fullest.'
I've come to realize we might have interpreted that wrong. A lot of the times the Church in America takes this to mean, God has a wonderful plan for your life. He came to give you full life. He came to give you all the good stuff. Cram your bank account full and your garage and give you a nice home. But full life means both full joy and full pain, I believe. He came that we might have life. He came to take the blinders off, and we are going to experience it all: the suffering, the joy, the pain, the hope. That's what it means to be fully alive."