Where Do We Go When We Need Worship?

Where Do We Go When We Need Worship? April 20, 2023

Where Do We Go When We Need Worship?

Where Do We Go When We Need Worship?

Most of us do not think we need worship much 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 we need it probably see it as part of our job. We usually spend more time thinking about it than actually worshipping.

If we ever do think we need worship we believe it happens at a specific time in a particular place. We think we need to go somewhere to worship. When we leave we believe we can check it off our list for another week, or longer.

It is something we do, once a week if that often. We go to a particular place and act a certain way. Some of us wear special clothes. We speak special words and sing songs we do not use any other times during the week. Sometimes we ned to translate worship language into the way we speak in our everyday lives.

What is worship? Why do we do it? Do we really need worship?

Dictionaries tell us it is experiencing or showing reverence and adoration for someone or something we regard as sacred.

I know people who need worship and will experience it 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 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.

Do We Need It?

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

Some of us make sacrifices for our physical health or our financial security. We may bow down to celebrities or ideas, or anything else we hold to be sacred.

Some people believe I worship my iPhone and my iMac. 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 consulting them seeking insight and connection.

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

Some people assume it can only happen 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 it 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.

When we pay attention today might be primarily outside our control. We stop to be open to the sacred truths all around us and within us. Spiritual life fills us with worship.

When Will We Need Worship Today?

One significant challenge to our need for 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 for it?

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

Our practices are 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 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 by setting time each day to pause and remember what is sacred.

How Will We Worship Today?

We have a choice. As we practice 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 where and when we pay attention, 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.

Where will go when we need worship today?

What will we worship this week?

[Image by Ewan-M]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.

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