It's time for our definition of "worship" to change, from something we do to something we allow ourselves to receive.
...from saying certain things which match our current definition of what is "true" to opening ourselves to whatever is true.
...from specific actions to posture.
...from doing to being.
This will blur lines, many of which have made many of us feel safe for ages: lines between denominations; lines between religions; lines between traditions; lines between "right" and "wrong." These lines will be blurred because when when we worship with this new definition, Christians, Nazarenes, Baptists, Agnostics, Buddhists are all doing the exact same thing — we are taking the same posture of receiving. What we receive is decided entirely outside of our control, so our belief system, while not irrelevant, isn't the basis for a posture of worship... in fact, it is likely that this type of worship will change our system of beliefs from time to time. Our job is to become open to receiving and accepting.
The feeling of "unsafe!" emerging for some of us right now as we consider this new definition of worship is the feeling of the very thing which is unsafe being stripped away. We are no longer in control, we are now in a position of submission. It feels like exposure to all sorts of evil and lies and danger... and it is. We are now exposed to the elements. We are now in the hands of God, and the task of differentiating between "right" and "wrong" is no longer ours, but God's. This submission is not the same as weakness. In fact, it is a sign of great strength and courage to hold a posture like this. It's called trust. It's called faith.
Many of us have been trying to worship without faith for a long time, and we've felt the emptiness of it.
It's time for our definition of "worship" to change, from something we do to something we allow ourselves to receive. From something we say or sing to being sung to.
This is not to say we wouldn't actually sing — singing can be a powerful way to become receptive — but the singing is not worship... the songs are not worship. Singing can actually be like putting up a wall — our own voice can become a blanket of noise, protecting us from "the outside elements." It's how we sing that matters — our posture makes the difference between worship and noise.
There is a river of hope and healing surrounding each of us, looking for a way in. The only way in is through our receptivity. For some of us, it takes a life-threatening illness or some other catastrophe to bring us to this point of receptivity. But that's not the only way. Every moment, we have the opportunity — the power — to open ourselves to receiving this hope and healing that is trying to get in. Opening to this hope and healing — with all the courage, trust, and faith it requires to do so — is worship.
I suggest we use this time, where everything is up in the air, where all systems are up for grabs, to allow our definition of "worship," among other things, to change.
When the limitations are lifted, we don't have to rush back to doing things the way we've been doing them. Some things haven't made sense to many of us for a long time, but we've been going along simply because of the pain, effort, and scariness of change. Things have changed for us. It's all off the table. All the clothes you wore before have been removed... what you put back on is entirely up to you.
An encouragement (a plea?) for us as things open back up, regarding things like worship and everything else: move forward intentionally; listen to the Whispering Voice inside and trust it; exercise your power to choose what to "put back on"; and re-build only with components, beliefs, and activities that actually feel honest, consistent, and real.
For example, the above ideas about worship may not resonate with you at all. Let them go. But if they are resonating, don't brush it off— let a new definition of worship emerge which feels honest and consistent and alive to you. And if the current system, the one we're headed back to, doesn't support this new mindset, reject the current system! Old wineskins can't always carry new wine. Let them go. The system should always serve real life. If the system doesn't support what is alive and breathing and growing, adjust the system, or make a new one.