So, in his post here, my cyber-neighbour Fr Eddie laid down the challenge of writing 200 words about one’s relationship with worship without the clues that might give away to others what one’s own preferences might be in terms of tradition (you know, incense-sniffing High Catholic, arm-waving Charismatic, Bible-clutching Pentecostal, icon-kissing Orthodox, etc). I said when he first wrote it that it was a challenge worth accepting – we all, including, or even especially, us liturgical students and scholars, get caught up in our traditions. So here we go. For what they’re worth here are my (approximately) 200 words:
“Authenticity, and a focus on the “other” whom we are called to love: both God and neighbour. These, for me, are the key to worship. One without the other doesn’t work: believe in what you’re doing but lose sight of either God or neighbour (including your enemy), or both, and the worship will be damaged – I know, I’ve seen it, it was horrible (everyone there said so). I say “you”, but it also applies to the “I” who is worshipping – I’ve tried worshipping when the only thing I could focus on was me, that was disastrous too (recovery took months). This isn’t to say we can’t worship when we’re lost, alone, hurting, of course we can. But we need to at least be aware we ought to be looking outward, even if we’re not sure how and all we can do is go through the words and motions we’ve been taught, or that everyone else is saying and doing. Talking about God and neighbour without believing in one or other doesn’t work either – results in this case aren’t hot pain but cold numbness. In summary: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God, the rest’s just icing!”
So, Fr Eddie, how’d I do?
And whatever tradition you come from and however you prefer to worship, travel well,