Worship as silent expectant waiting

October 23, 2016 § 6 Comments

We worship in silent expectant waiting.

Silent, because we want to take away any busy-ness or noise that would keep us from hearing that “still small voice” within us.

Expectant, because we know that in the human soul, and in the center of our worship, there is a wellspring of G*d’s love and healing and forgiveness and strength and guidance and inspiration and renewal and creativity; and that, if we turn toward the Light within us, if we attend to the Presence in our midst, then we can expect this divine grace to manifest in holy communion.

And so we wait, not with our thumbs twiddling in some passive quiet, but actively wait as a waiter does, utterly attentive to the needs of those who have come to the divine banquet, ready to serve; we wait as ladies in waiting do, as companions to our Guide, ready to take up any task that may be required of us. This may take the form of vocal ministry; or emerge as acts of love or pastoral care; or as leadings into social witness, in acts that seek to bring G*d’s healing and peace and justice and progress into the world.

* I write the word G*d with an asterisk as a way to bypass the freight that the word often brings with it, in order to connect more directly with my readers. The asterisk stands in for whatever your experience of God is, rather than whatever connotations and associations it might bring from popular use, or even what I myself might mean by the word.



§ 6 Responses to Worship as silent expectant waiting

  • Jill H-W says:

    “Silent” does not mean that the environment is totally silent. Worship can occur in a very noisy environment, like on a street corner or in the park. Silent, I think, says something about our own individual stillness and our willingness to listen.

  • This essay does not exhaust the significance of “waiting on the Lord,” but it does offer some new insights about what may be required of us as we wait.

    • treegestalt says:

      “Waiting on the Lord” may indeed require everything we have and are; but what seems most elusive about efforts to describe it from a human perspective — is that any merely-human perspective is too narrow.

      Conceived as somehow-isolated units of consciousness, human beings clearly lack the capacity to fulfil “requirements” from an abstractly-conceived perfect Taskmaster — So the need is all on our side, to be able to fulfil any requirements whatsoever. “I can, of my own self, do nothing.”

      Much is given, as well as required — and our seeming ‘isolation’ is a trick of limited perspective. “We” are merely a subset of the One who requires and gives.

  • treegestalt says:

    Nothing can be gained by denying the work of Spirit ongoing in other people, no matter how far from God they seem to be.

    If God could cease to send sun and rain to nourish both ‘the Just’ and ‘the Unjust’, God might even abandon the denier himself to a sterile self-righteousness that would hold him caught in the gate of the Kingdom, neither entering himself nor allowing entrance to anyone else. But such a state could not endure.

  • There is one fatal flaw in the all-inclusive approach. You cannot come to the truth unless you turn loose of the lie. You cannot enter into life except you turn away from death. The beauty of Jesus’ statement in the 4th chapter of John is his direct and unequivocal rejection of the “worship at the mountain of you know not what” and the “cultural worship at Jerusalem.” For neither at this mountain nor at Jerusalem shall you worship the Father. “For the hour is coming and now is when those who worship the Father shall worship Him in spirit and truth.” These are the worshipers the Father seeks. The call to worship is the call to come to the God who reveals Himself to all who will seek Him, who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The all inclusivists often base their actions on the claim that we all have a piece of the rock. All these pieces of the rock only comprise the metaphorical “sand,” and we all know what happens to the house built upon the sand. George Fox stated:”For being brought off from that foundation, and having suffered the loss of all, which seemed beautiful upon the sand,… we declare against that bottom and foundation, by the power of God, in that lifht of Christ, which discovers all false foundations, and makes manifest all sandy bottoms, which man hath builded upon. For where the only true seed takes root, there all man’s plants and plantations are plucked up; for there the earth, in which the earthly plants grow, is broken up, ploughed up, and ripped up, and all things made manifest, which have lain hid in it…That mind, which doth speak of God, but lives not, dwells not, nor abides in the fear of God, that mind must suffer, and pass under the judgment of God, for the curse of God is upon that mind: for that mind is earthly, and of the earth, upon which the curse of God is. And that mind may talk of God, and speak of God, but not in union with God, nor from enjoyment of God in the spirit, nor from having purchased the knowledge of him through death and sufferings; but from hear-say of him, and from custom and tradition. But the true fear of God doth destroy that mind, which speaks of him, but doth not live in his fear: and that mind is raised up which doth abide in hhis ffear; and this is acceptable sacrifice, which is pure, clean, holy and without spot. Then that which knows God, speaks of him, which hath purchased the true knowledge of him through suffering; and to such there is no condemnation, but joy and peace. And this mind sings true praises to God, the other in hypocrisy; and therefore the wo is unto it. And this mind is stayed upon God, the other is gadding after the creatures, committing fornication with other lovers; and speaks of God, but is not subject to God, and must pass through condemnation.” (Works of Fox, Vol.VII, p. 32 (Epistle 24))
    I would also suggest looking at John Greenleaf Whittier’s The Brewing of Soma, but that is too long to include here.
    Ellis Hein

    • OOPS! The garbled word in the quote from Fox is “light”. So the phrase should be “…in that light of Christ, which discovers all false foundations…” There are also a couple of words with double letters that should be single. My apologies for not catching these sooner.

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