Most people who attend church, and many who don’t, know what a “confession” is. Attorneys and judges and juries hear them all the time. So do priests and occasionally pastors. Sometimes people tell something about themselves they are not sure how others will receive. Sometimes it’s an admission to some wrongdoing or even a crime. Sometimes it’s just something embarrassing.
Basically a confession is when someone “admits” something about themselves to other people. At our church, The Glade, we celebrate it when people “confess” their faith in Christ. And we are grieved when people “confess” some previously unknown secret that shows they are human and have failed.
But I have another confession… it’s not that I’ve just become a Christian, or that I have done something really evil or wrong. My confession is…”I cry in church.” And I do it a lot. And it’s not just at funerals when I’m moved by the death of people I know or for those who have lost a loved one or friend.
Actually, Jesus Himself did that. “Jesus wept,” the Bible says when his friend Lazarus had died. I also cry at weddings. Yes, I know, its sounds dumb… but I actually do. Especially, I cry when I am leading the ceremony. I am moved to tears when I see two people about to take the most important step in their lives outside of trusting God with their eternity. I cry because I know that over the next few years in maybe half the cases they may end up almost hating each other. I cry because what is so warm and beautiful in that moment could well end in the cold and hostile act of divorce. Yes, I cry at weddings… for joy and for sorrow.
But I cry, too, over something else. I did this just a couple of Sundays ago. And it was wonderful. I was sitting on the back row of our church listing to our worship team and musicians “warm up” for the early service… and I was moved in that moment with a powerful sense of the presence of God. And I just wept. I didn’t want to, I just did.
Then, I was aware of someone sitting just one seat over from me. And when I looked over, it was a young adult man who had just become a Christian. And he was weeping, too.
I knew his story; I had seen him reject the opportunity to become a Christian many times. That is, until the day a few weeks earlier when he came into my office with his wife and children…and stood before them and another pastor and I and make a powerful and clear confession of his faith in Christ.
Now, here the both of us were sitting on the back row early on a Sunday morning…crying. Two grown men. Crying.
What was wrong with us? I asked him why he was crying. He said, “I can believe He loves us so much… that he made this world so beautiful, and he let me know his love for me.”
And because I knew him so well, how he was, how pragmatic, and how unsentimental he was, I just cried even more! So, we started the morning together crying in church. Crying in wonder, crying in joy, crying in gratitude.
Hey, I cry in church; I confess it. Do you? If not, maybe it’s time to feel the wonder, the joy, the overwhelming gratitude again and just turn loose and cry in church.
Confess it, you really want to. Or maybe you don’t want to. You might want to ask yourself why? And when you get the answer, you may want to confess that to God.
Bruce Grubbs is senior pastor at The Glade since 1988. He is from Springfield. Grubbs received his bachelor of arts from Bethel College, a master’s from Austin Peay University and a master’s from Scarritt College. He earned a master’s in preaching and worship and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Vanderbilt University. Additionally he served at LifeWay Christian Resources for 28 years. At LifeWay, he was a consultant in pastoral ministry, managed the pastoral ministry department for 10 years and retired as associate vice President of corporate affairs. He and his wife, Jewel, have one son, John Paul, and two grandchildren.