Beyond the Rut


It’s so easy to get into a rhythm that becomes a rut.

The daily, mundane flow of life can be quite beautiful if we allow ourselves to be present to it. But sometimes, we get in a rhythm where we begin to not expect very much.

I’ve been to Quaker worship a few times, and I find one particular aspect to be quite meaningful. It’s the intention that is built together in community — the expectation that during their time together, significance will be revealed. The Spirit is present, and the people are present, and so everyone sits in silence, waiting for some (and it could be anyone; it could be you!) to feel a certain calling to speak. People contribute wisdom, theological reflection, stories, questions, and occasionally, even a moment of song.

I’m sure that Quakers get in their own mundane ruts too. I’m sure folks come to the Meetinghouse after struggling to get their kids dressed and in the car on time. I’m sure some folks enter the room thinking about irritations they have, maybe even with one another. I’m sure some folks have done this so many times that they come out of a sense of routine, and occasionally, maybe even obligation.

I’m sure all of that is true with Quakers, just as it is with any of us. But I so appreciate — and I see and feel the conviction of this in the room — that Quakers expect worship to lead to moments of transformation.

So today, I’m thinking about worship… what it means… how expansively we might think of it… and what sorts of invitations it brings to us…

In my own Presbyterian context, I confess that sometimes, I forget how transformative worship can be. I don’t mean to say that I simply go through the bare minimum of the motions. It’s not that so much. But sometimes, there are moments when I ponder whether my expectations of meaning, experience, and transformation — in a word, encounter, and sense of calling in that encounter — could be larger and more expansive. I sometimes wonder if I’m in a room with people who could also expect more, which sometimes involves expecting the unexpected… that is, what can happen around us and among us… and what can happen inside us internally.

And then, what if we think about worship expansively? Not only some-odd service at a particular time and place once a week that we do or don’t go to. What if worship is a way of expecting encounter in all things — the Spirit, God, Community, World, Humanity, Larger-Meaning, Significant-Questions, Connection, Care, Solidarity, Joy — in all the mundane, routine rhythms?

Maybe we’re invited in those directions all the time.

Renee Roederer

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