“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15
One of the stranger symptoms resulting from the traumatic brain injury I got 15 years ago is my tendency to cry at odd times, such as while watching sappy jewelry commercials on TV or foolish pet videos on Facebook.
My hair-trigger weeping is the result of something called “emotional lability” and it is a little disconcerting for someone like me who comes from a family of fairly stoic stiff-upper-lip types. I call these unwanted tears my “silly weeping.”
But there is another kind of weeping I recognize as “holy weeping.” This is weeping for things that really matter: weeping in human solidarity with those who suffer; weeping in genuine grief, loss, or remorse; sometimes weeping in unalloyed joy.
I often weep quietly in church when I am deeply moved by a scripture, a piece of a hymn, or the truth of God’s love told well in a sermon.
St. Paul admonishes us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” and I think this is an important part of what a congregation is, a communal context for us to do our holy weeping together. We “weep with those who weep,” and I am convinced that in these holy moments God weeps with us.
We know you won’t despise a broken heart, O God. Accept our holy tears as deep prayers of longing and hope for this world you love and for which Christ died.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.