Every time I read the Psalms, I am struck with the intense level of emotion in the language used. Per modern western standards, David can come across a bit melodramatic. However, I wonder if that raw, unfiltered emotion is not just a reflection of David’s heart for God, but a model of how the Church can and should worship God honestly. If you, like me, feel exposed or too vulnerable in expressing emotion (both positive and negative), I invite you to challenge yourself to be a more holistic worshipper, letting the liturgy and songs creep past the cerebral level and reach your heart at an emotional level.

Throughout our sermon series on the Psalms, we have seen David display a wide variety of emotions in different ways. So how do we become more honest worshippers and give others permission to be honest in their worship, able to freely feel inwardly and outwardly? For Presbyterians, it is an uphill battle; it is easy to cling to a tradition in which emotionalism is pushed aside in favor of a more stoic, “reverent” approach to worship. Although we should not be completely guided by our emotions, they are a vital to our being and should be a part of our worship. I encourage you to let not only the lyrics cause you to think more deeply, but to let each word and note move you at an emotional level. This can be through loud singing but can also be through silence; it can be standing with hands lifted or seated with head bowed in defeat; it can be in anger towards a God who seems silent or joy in life’s simple gifts. Our God invites us into worship and approaches us in any state we find ourselves. As a congregation, we should also model that approach, eager to celebrate with those in our community who are on a mountaintop; however, we must be equally as interested in drawing near to the person experiencing depression and anxiety, no matter how uncomfortable it is to sit with those feeling overwhelmed and hurt. God created us as emotional beings and we live and worship more completely when we express our emotions before God and each other.
Daniel Campbell