Practices From the Inside Out: How Will We Worship Today?

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Will We Worship Today?

Most of us do not think we spend much time worshipping these days. We are busy  getting things done, talking to people, living our lives. There is barely enough time for us to think, much less spend time worshipping.

Those of us who do think about worship may see it as part of our job. We probably spend more time thinking about it than actually worshipping.

When we do think about worshipping we believe it happens at a specific time in a particular place. We may go somewhere to worship. When we leave we believe we have done our worshipping duty for another week, or longer.

Worship is something we do, once a week if that often. We go to a certain place and act a certain way. Some of us wear special clothes for worshipping. We say worship words and sing worship songs we do not use any other times during the week. There are things we do during worship we would never do at any other time.

What is worship? Why do we do it? How will we worship this weekend?

Dictionaries tell us worship is experiencing or showing reverence and adoration for any person or object we regard as sacred.

I know people who will have a worship experience this weekend whether they realize it or not. They will dress in worship clothes, gather together to share a special meal. Some of them will get together to worship in large arenas, while others will worship via video.

They will feel and show their reverence and adoration for their favorite football teams.

Their worship experiences may be particularly intense because their teams are in the playoffs.

They will express their worship as strongly as people attending a religious worship service.

How Will We Worship Today?

We do not only worship football teams. Some of us worship a fine meal or an amazing travel experience. There are people who worship their dogs or cats.

Some of us worship our physical health or our financial security. We may worship celebrities or ideas, or anything else we hold to be sacred.

There are people who tell me I worship my iPhone and my iPad. The fact they have icons as well as converting and saving files makes them sound sacred. Some of my apps are more sacred than others.

We do spend quite a bit of time bowing down before them seeking insight and connection.

I do not believe I regard my devices as sacred. They can, though, be used for sacred purposes. I will spend part of my day worshipping electronically.

Some people assume we worship only when we go to a place of worship during a worship service. They believe worshipping includes acting in specified ways and using certain language.

I experience worship differently. We each show reverence for the Sacred in our own ways. Our experience of reverence may take place in nature, at the beach, or in the mountains. Tall trees can draw us into adoration for the Sacred.

We worship as we take time to pay attention, to listen to the Sacred. Worship can take place as we walk, while we sit, or standing still. We may lie on the ground and look up at the night sky. Words are not required for worship. We can dress any way we like.

How we will worship today is primarily outside our control. We stop to open ourselves to the sacred truths all around us and within us. Spiritual life fills us with worship.

When Will We Worship Today?

One significant challenge to our practice of worship is our unwillingness to give ourselves time.

We see our lives as busy, filled with responsibilities and expectations. There are so many tasks we expect ourselves to complete, so many things to do. We spend our days running from one thing to the next until we collapse exhausted at the end of the day.

Worship seems like such an inconvenient practice, demanding we enter a certain frame of mind. When can we make time to worship?

As our understanding of worship grows deeper we begin to recognize we are already practicing. We chase people and objects, offering our attention and adoration.

Our practice of worship is not a matter of forcing ourselves into new ways of living. We have already begun to recognize we spend time worshipping each day.

Developing our practice of worship is a matter of sorting out who and what we hold as sacred. We are not so much beginning to worship as we are focusing our reverence and adoration. What do we actually experience as sacred? Where do we find the sacred in our everyday lives?

We begin to practice worship by setting time each day to pause and remember what is sacred.

What Will We Worship Today?

We have a choice. As we practice worship we find a clearer picture of what is sacred to us. Rather than worshipping whatever presents itself to us, we take time to choose for ourselves.

It may be easy for us to see ourselves as tossed around at the mercy of winds and waves. We feel we are being pushed around by the circumstances and situations of our lives.

The fact is we are choosing what we will worship, what we hold as sacred, each day. It may take time and struggle for us to appreciate what is sacred in our lives. We have lived so long without recognizing the Sacred and we may need to work at it.

As we take time to listen and become open we see things differently. The Sacred is all around us and within us, drawing us into relationship.

Our relationship grows deeper and stronger. We will sort out what we truly hold as sacred and spend time worshipping. The Sacred looks us in the eye and we feel the power of its gaze.

How will we worship today?

When will we worship today?

What will we worship today?

[Image by JOHN K THORNE]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.

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