I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when God is silent.
This past Sunday morning our congregation had the opportunity to experience worship through music. It was a wonderful day, though somewhat long, and our musical offerings included a great variety of genres and styles. We heard everything from Mendelssohn to Black Church Spirituals to contemporary arrangements and more. There was something there for everyone and we hope that all who participated in the worship, be they leaders or congregants, felt the remarkable presence of the Holy Spirit as we made our joyful noise to God.
In the central position, replacing the sermon, was a particular piece created by contemporary composer, Mark Miller. The melody is hauntingly beautiful, mirroring the message of the words.
The words are drawn from an anonymous poem found on a wall in the camp at Auschwitz. Though we can partially guess a little bit about the identity of the author, in the end, there is something far more profound about not knowing. For the truth is, at some point in our lives, any of us might utter these words.
Now, it is true that most of us will never have to experience anything as dreadful and horrifying as the Holocaust. However, there are many other difficult situations to which these words might still apply. And part of the reason the music and the lyrics speak so poignantly is that on some level we can all relate to them.
It is not a statement of easy faith here. Instead, these are words of those who understand the full gravity of faith in the most terrifying and challenging of circumstances. It is a display that, as another song once said, though hope is frail, it is hard to kill.
In those times when God does appear to be silent, the promise we have is this: God is always with us. There is nowhere, in all creation, that we can go (even Hell) where God is not already there. Though Jesus felt as though God had abandoned him in his time of greatest need, God was still there, walking alongside, and offering strength to endure. Even on those days when it feels as though we can no longer believe – God is still there.
Such a promise empowers us to sing at the top of our lungs that “I believe.” On good days and bad, you are never, ever alone. You are loved more than you can imagine. You are important, valued, and essential to God’s body here on earth. May that give you peace and courage to face all that may come.