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Unique Worship – A Reflection

March 13, 2020
From the Opening Worship at our Officers Training Retreat in 2019 which was also our final project for the Certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation

As churches around the country plan for non-traditional forms of worship without the typical sanctuary, pews, choirs, organs, and bells. Some wonder how can we ever worship without all of the typical parts of worship?

For me it is not such a stretch. I remember setting up worship in tents, dining tents, briefing rooms, and out in the open when I was deployed with the Air Force. Frankly all I needed was my Bible, possibly some singers to help the congregation sing off of the hymn cards I had in my deployment Chaplain’s Kit. We learned how to worship in unique situations and every time we gave praise and honor to the Triune God… Creator, Christ, and Spirit.

Today churches are looking at virtual worship using YouTube, Zoom, Facebook Live, and other platforms. It is a challenge, yet it is not insurmountable. The funny thing is… if we open our hearts to the Spirit’s guidance it is amazing what She can reveal to us.

So what does this worship look like? I came across Thomas Merton’s poem, “O Sweet Irrational Worship” (p. 42) as I was reading his book, Emblems of a Season of Fury. As Merton spent time in nature and in his Hermitage, his eyes, heart, and spirit were opened to such wonderful worship moments in the midst of God’s Creation.

“O Sweet Irrational Worship”

Wind and a bobwhite

And the afternoon sun.

By ceasing to question the sun

I have become light,

Bird and wind.

My leaves sing.

I am earth, earth

All these things

Grow from my heart.

A tall, spare pine

Stands like the initial of my first

Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,

When I was on fire

When this valley was

Made out of fresh air

You spoke my name

In naming Your silence:

O sweet, irrational worship!

Oh sweet, irrational worship! May you guide us through these uncertain times. May you lead us as we seek to Be Still in God’s presence. May the Spirit help us to see our Triune God in new and refreshing ways. May you indeed guide us through the storm. Show us how to Be Still and know.

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