Greg Richardson is someone with whom I have much in common. Contemplative, creative, looking for deeper ways to engage people and help build community. We keep meaning to meet, but it just hasn't worked out. Still...we like to exchange ideas. This week he's posting here and I'm posting on his blog. Take a gander. Here's Greg:
I belong to liturgical communities.
I was not born this way. Raised in communities solidly based in doctrine, I was seduced by the beauty of liturgical words and silence. I knew that these were not the reasons to join a church; that ideas and teaching were more important than the words, the rhythm, and the sacred space they create. Beauty is fine, but clarity and right thinking make a church strong.
I remember walking out of the first liturgical service I ever attended thinking, "Where did they come up with all that?"
The words wooed me, attracting my attention to listen long enough to hear. It was the strength of the words, the way they seemed to expand as I reflected on them, that drew me closer.
I spent a lot of time on the words, wanting to make sure I understood exactly what they meant. I read and prayed, and asked questions.
Slowly, I began discovering the beauty and power of the silence.
The silence is more than a pause between the words. The words are the beach, the shoreline that attracts us on sunny days. The silence is the ocean. It is immense. It can overwhelm us. It washes away what we have constructed so carefully. We can begin to understand the words; the silence is beyond us.
I participate in communities where we gather to tell our story, to share the words and to let the silence have its way with us. Whether it is a weekly worship service, a retreat day, or a visit to a monastery, the liturgy of the words and the silence reveal and remind us who we are.
We gather to receive strength and courage, then we go out to love and serve with gladness and singleness of heart.
Thanks be to God.