Sunday Struggles

This morning was one of those Sunday mornings when I just didn’t want to go to church.  I woke up feeling apathetic and self-indulgent.  I didn’t feel like putting on a smile and greeting everyone and making small talk.  And I really didn’t feel like sitting still for a 40-minute sermon, trying to keep my mind focused on the topic at hand.  It didn’t help that my head was cloudy and my body sluggish, thanks to the Chloretrimeton I had taken earlier for seasonal allergies. 

I went to church out of sheer obedience and because that’s what we do.  But my heart wasn’t in it.  My body wasn’t in it.  I wasn’t in it.

When we arrived, I wearily hoisted myself out of the car, plastered a fake smile on my face, and slowly strolled into the building, prolonging every last minute in the glorious September sunshine.  We found our seats, and I struggled to not be annoyed with my kids’ childish squirming as they settled themselves.

I wrestled with my attitude through the morning announcements and the prelude, trying to hide from my friends and fellow worshipers my reluctance to be there. 

But then something unexpected happened.  When we stood to sing, the words and music of the familiar hymn acted as a tonic for my soul.

Some of the words were:

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne,
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

And:


All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me;
thy praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity.

Then the next hymn held these gems of encouragement:

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

How could I possibly continue in the muck and mire of apathy while singing those words?

By the sermon, my inner Oscar the Grouch had been replaced by praise for the Creator.  My restless legs had even found peace.  I was able to focus on the message, and my heart was open to the lessons I needed to learn.

When we finally stood to sing the final hymn, I was able to joyfully sing the words with all my heart.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever three and ever one;
one in might and one in glory,
while unending ages run.