The Work of Worship

In the Quaker meeting for worship we gather in silence.
We must labor to enter into stillness though.

Put aside burdens and concerns,
the “could have said” and “should have saids”

Unlike most who worship in
churches
mosques
synagogues

Quakers do not have leaders to instruct us.

We look to the Light within, the Teacher within.

We must bring our minds back from wandering.
Be like John the Baptist and go to the wilderness.

We then give each other and ourselves
the GIFT
of stillness within.

Then we wait, listen and speak out of that stillness

This post has 5 Comments

  1. Jennifer on February 14, 2005 at 8:16 pm Reply

    Write in the light where ever you may be. Write in the light where ever you may be. In your creative performance clothes and white VW Beetle, you are writing in the glory of the light said she.

  2. Ruthie on February 16, 2005 at 3:32 pm Reply

    Hi Peterson,

    This is lovely. Your words ring really true and remind me of how much I am coming to appreciate Quaker worship and I love the image you posted.

    Can I ask you a question? What do you do during meeting for worship? I am growing increasinly curious about what other Friends do during meeting! Do you have any specific meditation practices? Do you just let you mind wander? Do you try to stop your mind from wandering? Or what do you do?

    Ruthie

  3. Peterson Toscano on February 16, 2005 at 4:47 pm Reply

    Ruthie, when I go to meeting for worship, I try to get there a few minutes early so that I can settle in. Before I arrive, I try to avoid listening to much music or talking on the phone. It helps keep my free of a recent buzz of activity.

    During the meeting I focus on my breathing to help me center. I will breath in on a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, then release it for a count of eight. This calms me and helps me to clear my mind some.

    Often I will repeat in my head the phrase, “Be still, know God” which comes from the scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.”

    Sometimes I will imagine the sound “ing” in my head. Somehow this really grounds me and opens me up to listen.

    During the meeting I remind myself that meeting for worship is a communal experience. The greatest gift I can give Friends is to be still with them. Sometimes I pray for the meeting and hold us all in the light. I may even visualize us encased in the light or the glow of the light coming from deep within each person.

    Now I don’t know what others think about this practice, but I almost always have a journal or piece of paper. I will jot down thoughts as they come into my head. Sometimes if I remember I need to do something later that day, I’ll jot it down so that I don’t worry about forgetting it.

    When my mind wanders, I simply note the wandering, don’t judge or beat up myself, and then focus back on being still.

    Being still for a sustained period is difficult for me. If I am succesful for even five minutes at a time, I feel very pleased. Hopefully over time, my concentration will improve.

    These are some of the thoughts of what I do. I’d be interested in hearing what other folks do during worship.

  4. Liz Opp on February 22, 2005 at 7:33 pm Reply

    Hi, Peterson– Thanks for giving me your blog address at Midwinter Gathering. I’m awaiting the flight to Minneapolis and was thrilled to read your posts.

    I agree with your thoughts about the importance of “preparing mind and heart”–settling in for worship. I’d also add that one thing I do is I imagine that God is in the center of the room, and we are all God’s invited dinner guests, and we are awaiting to hear the Word of God… expectant waiting. It’s been a powerful image for me at this time, and it also helps me feel connected to what others in the room are also doing–waiting to receive God’s guidance.

    I believe Kwakersaur has also posted about goes on for him in MfW. And you are welcome to look at my (new) blog, The Good Raised Up. I’ll plan to add your link to my blog once I’m back home. …Nice to see you this past weekend at Ghost Ranch!

    Blessings,
    Liz

    P.S. Georgia’s last name is spelled with two “F”s–O’Keeffe. smile

  5. Liz Opp on February 22, 2005 at 7:41 pm Reply

    Whoops, Friends. The blogger who has posted about his experience of worship is Beppeblog. Sorry for the misdirection… and for a duplicate comment.
    Blessings,
    Liz

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