Recently I’ve had several opportunities to reflect on the liturgy and its importance in my life and relationship with Jesus. I’ve realized that the reason I love it so much is simple and complicated at the same time. The simple answer is peace. Sitting in church on Sunday mornings and letting the truth of the Gospel, that covers every inch of the liturgy, wash over me is so peaceful. The familiarity of the prayers. The rhythm of worship. The way it engages my mind, heart, and body. All of it is so peaceful.
Friends, would you allow me to be vulnerable? This is where the answer becomes more complicated. My soul longs for those moments of peace. For as long as I can remember, I have dealt with anxiety and have been prone to times of depression. Peace does not come easily to my heart and mind. I know that the idea of mental illness is fraught in the Christian community. Some of you may be questioning my relationship with the Lord because of my admission to anxiety and depression. Some of you may be in a season of questioning your own relationships with the Lord because of a recent diagnosis or your own experience with anxiety and depression. Friend, I have been there. It’s heartbreaking and scary and calls into question everything you believe to be true. However, I am comforted by Paul’s reference to a “thorn in my flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12. I too have prayed, and prayed, and begged the Lord to remove my anxiety, my thorn. He hasn’t and I have to trust in His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9- “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
What I can tell you is that He has been so kind, and so faithful to me as I’ve learned to cope, function, and grow in the midst of it. My anxiety constantly brings me back to the feet of Jesus and He has been so faithful to meet me there, in the midst of the storm. The liturgy has been a major piece of that. When my mind is reeling and confusing, I can hear the truth of the Gospel in the liturgy. I can find peace in the prayers. And in seasons of depression, which are usually accompanied by doubt, I can hold onto the hope that we have in Christ. I can find peace in the reminders of what I believe. And I can receive this blessing spoken after communion with a grateful heart, knowing that God loves me, I love Him, and that true peace is found in Him.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be amongst us and remain with us forever. Amen.
Director of Children’s Ministry