Songs of Sorrow

I stand weeping alone
’Midst their rejoicing songs.
Shouts of praise surround me,
Calling “Come and worship.”
But my heart will not lie,
Will not give empty words.
How can I sing of joy
From a heart of sorrow?

Oh! why is there renewed
In the hall of worship
The wall hostility —
One-way glass division?
Inside, light-mirrored glass
Reflects joy unto joy.
Outside, bright shining pane
Displays joy unto pain.

In light the joyous sing
And thus are seen by all
Proclaiming “Our God saves!”
In visible worship,
While in outer darkness
Grief’s unseen weeper cries
“Look upon my sorrow.”  —
Invisible worship.

Are the joyous more God’s
Children than those who mourn
That they may bring their songs
Into the family room?
Are mourners less God’s own
Than the joyful dancers
That their songs are homeless,
Broken voices busking?

Is there room for sorrow
In the house of worship?
While those with hearts of joy
Feast in the inner room,
The grief heavy-laden
Labor in pain outside.
Loneliness swaddles grief.
Bitterness, its manger.

Shall communion divide?
Where are the bitter herbs?
Is their place now removed
From the worship table?
Shall rejoicing hearts feast
In joyous company
While grieving hearts alone
Find no food for their souls?

The Psalter gave grief voice.
Deep knells for justice rang
Alongside joyful peals
In ancient temple poems:
“How long, oh Lord?” laments,
“Remember His deeds!” praise,
“I have sinned.” repentance,
“Declare His goodness!” odes.

What better place for grief
Than in the warmth of love?
What harder place to grieve
Than in the cold outside?
Let songs of sorrow rise
Within the worship space.
Let Christ enfleshed in Church
With keening Mary weep.



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