Question from The God Article on FB:
If you were to (or do) worship in a church, what would the perfect worship service look like?
(What would it include? What would the setting be? Would there be liturgy? What kind? Music? What kind? Sermon? What would it be like? Who would do it?)
I like this question, mostly because it is the type of thing I would wonder about anyway. You see, I miss my “home church.” Yup. That’s what we called it. When you have a church you attend where the people that attend it are as close or closer than family and you feel connected to its lifeblood and it sustains you, it is your home church. Mine was back in New Hampshire. Since the time I attended there, more than the miles have grown to separate me from that sanctuary. I have always questioned dogma and that was what I liked about the church I attended. I remember that the minister told me once that “Methodists didn’t have to leave their brain at the door.” I took that statement very much to heart, and followed the still, small voice even when it led me to go contrary to church dogma and policy. He always supported me in my questionings, and for that I will always be grateful.
When I moved away, I tried attending several churches in my new home city. I never did find a place that could both accommodate the turns that my personal evolution of faith was taking, and give me the sense that I was part of something greater than myself. That hasn’t stopped me from hoping that someday, I might find a community of people that will allow me to connect and grow in a way similar to the Methodist church I knew when I was younger. I sometimes imagine what that might entail. So, the question becomes: What would I want now?
My mom used to remind me that a church was the people and not the building. While there is truth in that statement, I recognize that buildings and sites that inspire awe have always been included in worship for a reason. To me, sites for worship would have to include the out of doors, or places with access to nature. However, I don’t like the restriction of “church” on any specific day of the week. I really have a distaste for separating my life out that way. In my dream church, services wouldn’t be necessarily be on Sunday or Saturday, either. My faith is part of my every day life and I would want worship to be similar. I love the idea of including the cycle of the seasons and the turning of the sun and the moon in my worship. I do this already on a personal level, but I would love to have a community that thinks similarly!
I would want to include music for sure. I love hymns, chants and spiritually expressive songs. I don’t know if I believe in having a minister (I may be too gnostic for that!), but I would love having some type of “sermon” or insight sharing, perhaps from multiple people. I would want to honor divergent paths like the Unitarians do. I would want to talk about things such as how to live a connected life, how to raise one’s vibration, how to live from the heart, how to “ascend” or become “enlightened.” I would love to talk about Unity Consciousness and how to live a life with integrity and impeccability. I want a place where the feminine face of the Divine is just as honored as the male aspect. I would want to learn from the teachings of Jesus, of Buddha, and of Guru Nanak and others. Sharing, studying, supporting and building community would all be vital parts of the group dynamic. Group meditations are something I enjoy, so I would love it if that were included too.
Too, no book would be an ultimate authority. You see, I believe the concept that words are pointers and one should never confuse the pointers with what they are pointing at. So, any book could be a jumping off point for discussion and insight. It doesn’t have to be anything like the Bible or the Quran. It doesn’t even have to be non-fiction to be speaking a truth, in my opinion. However, wariness should always be present whenever an absolute is stated (yes, I see the irony in that statement!).
I have been to a few Unitarian services that were close, but I never felt connected for some reason.
I have often been inspired by this quote by Einstein: “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.” Frankly, this may be as close to my personal faith as words can come.