Friday, March 10, 2006

Daily Worship

Another thing I love about being at this Quaker retreat center is having daily Meeting for Worship. In my normal life, I spend part of every day in reflection or meditation. But there is something amazing about having a daily Meeting for Worship with others.

When my life has allowed me such opportunities, I find that I go much more quickly and deeply into worship and prayer than when I only have this opportunity weekly. It’s kind of like “staying in shape” athletically, or “staying in practice” musically. If you only ran once a week, you’d find it consistently tiring. If you only practiced music once a week, you’d never develop the basic muscular skills required for mastery of your instrument. If you only practiced some form of prayer or meditation one time a week, it might feel a bit stiff and artificial, and maybe even pointless.

There are, however, lots of ways we can nurture the spirit on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be a communal Meeting for Worship everyday. It can be personal time for reflection or prayer, spiritual reading, journaling, and can be integrated with other activities such as working out, going for walks, or having meaningful conversations with good friends.

But still, I find that I myself do greatly appreciate the opportunity for daily Meeting for Worship with others. I find that the quality of the experience becomes much more profound for me when I feel in regular “practice.”

And, more and more I believe that this kind of time is much more significant than it may “look” to others. A person who really knows how to pray is really and truly contributing to the world in an incredibly important way. I sense that this is true. I sense that it is urgent that people who feel called to this need to give themselves full permission to do this, even if they are afraid that the rest of the world regards it as “wasted time.” Time to attend, to wake up, to get in touch with what really matters, is never wasted time: on the contrary, the regular discipline of cultivating awareness helps prevent us from wasting time in the remainder of our waking hours.

2 comments:

  1. I just remembered that, when I was at that (or a similar) place in the UK, I did two weeks of daily journaling for the Barclay Press site.

    What a wonderful rhythm that was. Keep writing--it's wonderful that you share the fruits of your time.

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  2. Thank you so much, Johan! I very much enjoyed reading your Barclay Press journal entries -- when I came to the end, I wanted more! Thank you so much for all of your sharing. I read "Can you believe?" on a regular basis!

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