I’ve said it before and I’ll gladly restate it; I don’t have all the answers, and in light of that fact, this post poses a question that I have reflected on but as yet have drawn no conclusions. I’d love to know what you think.
Confession: There are times when the last place I want to be on a Sunday morning or evening is in front of a congregation with a guitar in my hands and a microphone perched ominously in front of my mouth. I’m not in the mood to sing the happy songs. I’m struggling to find the energy to stay awake let alone lead others in ‘wonder, love and praise’. Sometimes I feel stressed, sometimes angry, sometimes upset. Sometimes I feel numb. And the question that runs through my head is this:
Am I a total hypocrite right now, or is there something deeper?
There have been stages in my time as a sung-worship leader where I have been enthusiastic about my faith and church and spirituality and I feel connected to God in a very definite and tangible way. That is then communicated to the congregation in an authentic fashion. The hypocritical question never enters my head at such moments. But there have been equal, if not more, times that I have felt disconnected, distant, doubting; times where I have struggled in my faith for various reasons that I won’t bore you with here. There is no enthusiasm or motivation to lead but I do it anyway because I’m on the rota and at these times the question of hypocrisy feels very real.
On a personal level I understand the theology of “Even when I don’t feel like it, God is no less worthy of my worship”. I’ve sung the laments; the ‘Blessed Be Your Name’s, I’ve chosen to honour God when I can’t be bothered to. But when I’ve been entrusted with the responsibility to lead others it feels more complicated than that. I feel like I’m going just through the motions, but I’m going through the motions for others’ benefit. Emotionally disengaged but carrying on with the delivery that enables others to partake in the event. Personally detached but facilitating others in their enthusiastic expression of worship together.
And therein lies the tension – is it hypocrisy (the act of promoting beliefs and values that one does not personally adhere to) or is it actually a servant-hearted, disciplined delivery that, despite my personal feelings and issues at any given time, I will lead and facilitate the congregation to worship?