I was thinking about this at church this morning as my husband and I didn’t stand to sing a song. We were both singing, but neither one of us stood. For a brief moment I wondered what those around me thought. Perhaps they thought I was a rebel. Perhaps they thought I didn’t feel well. Perhaps they thought I was angry or just didn’t care for that particular worship song. Perhaps they thought I was in pain with my leg still hurting from the wreck or my groovy rheumatoid arthritis.
Truthfully, I am almost always in pain with my groovy rheumatoid arthritis, and yes, my leg still hurts every so often, but that has nothing to do with why I didn’t stand.
My daughter was home from college for the first time over fall break a few weeks ago and was in our newly remodeled Worship Center for the first time at church. I’m so thankful there is a place for her wheelchair in the middle of the congregation and not just at the back. Do you know what it feels like to only have the option to be seated at the back almost everyplace you go? Well, it kind of makes you feel like an outsider looking in. I think Jesus wanted the disabled close to Him and not at the back where it’s more difficult to see and hear. Good job to my church!
But as people stood to sing at church my daughter came to a stark realization. With the way the new seating is positioned, when people stand, she can’t see the screens. She can’t see the words to sing. I watched as she tried to move her body a bit to see. Then she tried to move her wheelchair a bit to see. The songs she knew by heart, she sung, but she reached a point where she just didn’t participate in some of the songs with which she wasn’t as familiar.
Please understand, just because my daughter can’t stand doesn’t mean I don’t think congregations shouldn’t stand to sing in church! But maybe, just maybe for one or two songs we could sit. Alissa Jagger is not the only individual in a church who could benefit from others sitting sometimes. There are some who are enduring chemotherapy treatments, or physical pain, or just the aging process who do better when seated.
And so once in awhile, I stay seated. Not because I’m upset, not because I want to be a jerk, but simply because I do think it is okay to worship God the Father and not look like everyone else.
You see, if worshipping God means one has to stand, my daughter is currently out here on earth. And I don’t think my daughter is out of the Kingdom of Heaven. I think she is in.
So all that leads me to wonder: how many times in my life have I casually glanced at others and been critical of how they are doing “something?” Me, in my holier-than-thou place of judgment who doesn’t have a clue to their true motivation or rationale or situation.
Yep, the world is absolutely full of people who don’t speak, think, and act like me. My need for grace and understanding from others as to why I don’t always stand to sing in church with the rest of the congregation is the same grace and understanding I need to extend to others when they don’t necessarily do life as I think they should do life.
There’s always a back story. There’s always a reason. There’s always a rationale. And in my post-wreck life, I’m trying and hopefully getting better at reminding myself I am not a part of the Holy Trinity.
God continues to use me, but not as the judge and jury, regardless of whether I’m standing or sitting.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.