Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting Rooms and Worship

We all spend time in waiting rooms. Often it is in a doctor's office, waiting to get help from a medical professional. It might be in a hospital, waiting for news about someone we care deeply about. Or it can the the noisy waiting "lounges" of modern airports, getting ready to go to the next stop on our journey. Waiting rooms are common experiences in the sense that we we experience them many times through our lives. They are also common experiences in the sense of a shared, universal experience common to all of us.

The waiting that happens in a waiting room is not passive, but active. We are not just waiting around with nothing to do. There is a reason for the waiting. We are waiting to see the doctor. We are waiting to board a plane for the next stop. We are waiting to find out how the surgery went. It is a waiting of anticipation, being ready to move on to the next step.

The waiting that happens in a waiting room involves paying attention. We listen for our name or our flight to be called. We may distract ourselves with books, old magazines or music on our mp3 player, but part of us is listening. That part of us that is paying attention hears a door open, a name called, or sees movement.

And finally the waiting that happens in a waiting room is resolved in activity. We gather our things together and move to what is next. We board a flight, see a doctor, hear the news from the surgeon. The time of waiting is transformed into action.

On Sunday evening, October 10, we will begin something at Plainfield Friends that I am calling "The Waiting Room." It will be a time of traditional Friends worship at 6 pm followed by a time of Bible exploration and discussion at 7 pm.

Traditional Friends worship is a lot like the waiting that happens in a waiting room. It may be quiet but it is not passive.  There is a reason for the waiting as we anticipate some kind of moving.   In a doctor's office or an airport lounge we have a pretty clear idea of what will be happening.  Waiting in worship means we are open to something happening, even though we may not know exactly what that something may be.
Waiting in worship involves paying attention. We may notice a variety of things - the ticking of a clock, our stream of consciousness, a passage from the Bible, the concerns of the day - but in all of that there is a listening going on. We listen for others and we give attention to what God is doing. As we wait, we may find our name being called.

And waiting in worship may bring us to a place of action. We may share something with the group. Or we way discover something that needs to be done afterwards, in our relationship with others or with God.

There is a place for everyone in the waiting room. 

The Waiting Room

beginning Sunday, October 10
6 pm - The Waiting Room
A time of traditional Friends worship

7pm - The Bible Hour
A time of Bible exploration and discussion


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very instructive explanation of the readiness connected to the waiting and listening attitude. Thanks!