Crying in church

People cry in church. They cry for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it is the music – the sound of an organ can make bereavement so real somehow. My mum ran out of a church for that very reason when her mother died. Just one note was all it took for the tears to spring forth.  I once was in a church in the East End of London and a woman in front of me sobbed all the way through the Eucharistic Prayer. People didn’t ignore her but they did give her space. She told me after it was joy and it often happened.  Someone has been coming to church for a wee while now and announced that yesterday was the first time she hadn’t cried. Well, not strictly true, she said – there was a wee blip at it being Mothering Sunday.

So this is for all those who cry in church…

A RESPONSE TO INVOLUNTARY CRYING

Lord, why do you make me cry out loud, when I am in a public place? It causes them to condemn me as mad or stupid, and so they cannot see that I am really your most faithful servant. In particular, I beg you to prevent me from crying during sermons. When I cry listening to holy preaching, I have no choice but to run away; so my cries bar me from hearing your doctrines. And I fear that one day I will be arrested and put in prison, so I will hear no more sermons. If I must cry, please ensure that I only cry in the privacy of my bed-chamber.

Margery Kempe

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2 thoughts on “Crying in church

  1. I’ve never understood Margery Kemp. I think tears are a perfectly normal part of worshipping life, and they shouldn’t be a big deal. Indeed, I have been known to consciously encourage people to repress their desire to immediately ‘comfort’ people who are crying, because the tears might be a necessary part of God’s work.

    …which is not to say it’s never right to do so.

    laughter and tears: both signs of the Spirit moving.

  2. Oh she is completely bonkers, but I kind of love her eccentricity. Always to be encouraged imho. And no, I don’t agree with her either – I just loved this quote which made me smile.

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