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What we bring to a service of worship may be as important as the content of the service. If we bring no expectations, no intention to flow with the experience, we are unlikely to get much out of it. We bring ourselves, our past, our own unique experiences into the common experience. Above all, we must bring an openness of mind, of spirit, of self. Are we willing to let ourselves be transformed by the power present in a caring community gathered together, by the creativity that lies in new ideas, in spaces between us and beyond us, and in our very receptivity to what is new?
If we are to be true to our liberal heritage, we must be open to the possibility of a complete transformation of our ideas, relationships, and way of life. Furthermore, the open mind principle we espouse goes beyond a receptiveness to new ideas alone. It includes new forms as well.
Ours is a diverse denomination. Nevertheless, it should be possible for the member of an informal fellowship to worship in one of our more liturgical churches, or for one used to certain traditions to worship in a setting where those traditions are not present. The worshiper must be willing to work at the service to get the most out of it. If the service is thematic, there must be a willingness to hear the spoken word with an open mind, to feel the flow of thoughts and poetry with an open spirit. If the service is liturgical, there must be a willingness to enter the flow of established forms and find new meanings each time. If the service is celebratory, there must be a willingness to open oneself to the sharing of others, to be a part of a community. Above all, there must be an expectation that something can happen, that the service has the power to change, or help one change, one's thinking, feeling, relating.
Next: The Goal of Worship
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Last updated on Monday, April 11, 2011.
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