Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quaker worship at home

This coming Sunday John and I are hosting a Quaker-style meeting for worship in our home. Lots of new meetings come about this way. But we aren't interested in starting a new meeting. We just want to bring people interested in coming together for a chance to worship without the baggage of their own meeting. We seek to spend an hour or so centering down to listen more deeply for the "still quiet voice" within. John and I feel very lucky to be able to offer our home for such a purpose.

I suppose all times in history are a little crazy, but I relish the opportunity to turn off the electronics, the media, the information-obsessed societal pressures, and turn on a faith system that transcends time and space... Okay, that may be asking for a lot, but I love the timelessness of centering down for worship.

I attend a weekly Buddhist meditation group. That time is also precious. One of the best parts is that there is no pressure to listen for the Divine. Buddhists don't believe in God. The other nice thing about the group is that there are no committees. This small group meets at a local church hall. Someone might bring a reading. A small table with a candle is kept at the church; folding chairs are set-up. Someone dings a bell and we become quiet. Forty-five minutes later, someone dings the bell three times. We might share our reflections from our meditation afterward or some Buddhist principle applied to a recent event. We pack up and leave.

Quaker meeting hasn't been like that for me. Lots of work is made of a decision-making process called the sense of the meeting or what we believe God is calling us to do as a group. All of this is within the notion of living in a faith community where we are accountable to each other in a loving manner, hence the name the Religious Society of Friends. We are told that we find the root of Quaker practice and community by serving on a committee. I've served on many committees. One finds that the practice of Love is neither Utopian nor simple. However, it is as good a practice as the Buddhist form of meditation for plumbing the depth of one's faith, beliefs or attachments.

I have very little expectation for this coming Sunday, except the opportunity to worship with friends. At this point in life, nothing is more precious.