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The woman carries a burden.  It is the guilt and grief of an abortion.

The deceiver of her soul never leaves her alone.  “Can God ever forgive you?”   “Choice” is building a wall between her and God.  Wouldn’t it be easier to sleep in on Sunday mornings?

Her conscience is stirred.  She remembers that, as a little girl, she attended worship with her parents.  She didn’t really understand the service.  The hymns seemed old and the pews hard.  But, there was a sense of order and peace.  Even her little girl heart identified with that.

So, one Sunday morning, the woman returned to the place of her childhood.  The place of order and peace.  Perhaps her burden made her more sensitive, but something had changed.  Instead of quiet reverence, there was noise and distraction. 

She intentionally chose the more contemporary service.  Even so, there was humility in her manner because she believed she was entering the House of the Lord.   The flurry of activity startled her.  Posters, banners, blinking lights, a latte station, people handing out brochures, and a praise band overpowered her senses.  Making her way to a back pew, she bowed her head.  She wanted to sort out her thoughts.  To pray.  But, all around her people in conversation competed with the vocalists and band.  Her mind wandered away from her prayer.

The woman remembered holding her hymnal when she was a girl.  But, now all the words were on a power point screen.  She couldn’t page through the Psalms or read God’s Word in the hymns.   She couldn’t turn to the page of confession and absolution.  The service moved so quickly.  Along with the others, she was praising her Lord, but what was He doing for her?

The pastor was dynamic.  Charismatic.  He looked almost like everyone else in the room.  She couldn’t help but wonder: How would he receive her?  He spoke about Jesus and mercy and grace, but did she miss the part about why she needed such mercy and grace?

She approached the Lord’s Table with hunger, but was not allowed to kneel, pause before the Cross, and ponder on what she was receiving.   The line of people moved quickly by the pastors and several elders.  She noticed some people looking at their watches.  Perhaps it was her imagination, but the band seemed louder.  Still, it didn’t drown out her pounding heart.  The anxiety.  What am I doing, she asked herself.  Why am I here?

Back in her pew, she again bowed her head.  But, there was no silence.  The praising continued.  The congregation was singing about a great God, a loving God.  But, where was He?  All of the people around her were doing something for Him, but what was He doing for them?  For her?

She had come to His sanctuary, but felt herself in an auditorium.  Sight and sound teased her emotions, but she always felt that way after a trip to the mall, too.

She had come to leave her burden before the Throne of Grace, be received as His daughter, and be equipped for her daily battle with the deceiver of her soul.  But, everyone was so busy taking their hour to praise the Lord.  Perhaps the Lord was receiving her as His daughter, but her head was turned away.  Her eyes were focused elsewhere.

She left with her burden in tow.  She hadn’t really felt like praising God, but wanted Him do something for her.  She wondered, did He give to her and all the others what they needed to engage in daily spiritual warfare?  Or, had they given Him some of their time before scurrying back to real life?

Does this woman sit in your midst?  Does your congregation’s choice of worship direct such a woman to the Cross, or distract her away?  Is she allowed to “be still and know that I am God,” or is she overwhelmed by the choreography of human hand?

Just pondering on the journey…

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