Monday, 8 September 2003

It's not what you do......

it's the why that you do it.

I was talking with my mother last night. She's 71 and suffering the slings and arrows of a body that's rushing ahead, age wise, of her mind. The church she's part of has a long tradition of loud and exuberant worship, and while there's nothing wrong with that, she can no longer cope with the volume level in the way she could when she was younger. A few months back she took it to God, and he basically said "it's OK - you can move on". So the search began.

What she wanted was a church where things were a little quieter, but where there was the same waiting on God, the same taking time in the worship, the same openess to God's moving. Having visited a number of churches in the area, she found an anglican church (rather to her dismay) that nearly fitted the bill. Her problem was..... the worship. While talking to one of the members, she summarised it as moving from a church where they worshipped like Mary to one where they worshipped like Martha. They would 'do' a couple of songs, then someone would bob up with a clevely designed prayer, or read something they had been allocated earlier.

Now, for those of a more 'US' background, this isn't a carefully stage managed meeting. This is, after all, just a little anglican church in a London suburb (you'd need to have seen this type of church to know what I mean). It's much more a place where people want to do all the "right things" but just by adding what's perceived as 'lively' to an existing structure. The result is that the focus is on 'doing worship' rather than the object of the worship.

Why, and indeed what, do we worship?

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