Our local paper has a “Sacred Spaces” Religion Page section under the heading (are you ready?): Entertainment. OMG. LOL. WTF. WOW.
Scanning down the page it’s easy to see what People of Faith are doing in my community this week, and every week, of every year. Ponder that, will you?
33+. . .Worship Services (includes Shabbat at one synagogue–we have 4 in our county)
7. . .Masses
5. . .Prayer Meetings
5. . .Bible Studies
4. . .”Contemplative” Services
4. . .”Eucharist” (lots of bread and wine being consumed)
2. . .Singing and Choir Practice
1. . .”Classic Praise”
And one simply announces “Breakfast” at one service and “Lunch” at the other (I think I like THAT Religion). There’s also a Meditation, Chanting, “Special Confessions” (aren’t ALL confessions special?) and an “Encounter” (we probably don’t want to know what that means). There’s also one “Festive” gathering and a “Joyful” service (aren’t they ALL supposed to be?).
Now, keep in mind, this list EXcludes the Mormons, JWs, Christian Scientists, Hindus, New Agers, Pagans and all the Guru-followers, Television Preacher-watchers, Readers of Holy Books and Mountain Bike Worshippers (sorry, kinda fits in our area).
Head spinning yet?
After this “News,” what else could possibly be going on in my community this week? Well, I see there’s still an affordable housing problem; there are too many homeless people, and hungry and unhappy people. There’s still a bunch of crime. People still running red lights on their way to Yoga. Still economic fears and problems with the educational system. Water’s running out too, and concern for earthquakes and fires. It appears there is still plenty of need in this area, calling for some serious discussion and collaborative work.
So, I wonder. . .I do a great deal of wondering, as you might see.
What if all the “service” directed to divine beings was re-directed toward direct service of people and concerns in our communities?
What if “God” had the face of each person in need?
What if praise was directed to our youth to encourage their excelling in leadership, and songs were sung in celebration of uniting the community rather than dividing?
What if “prayer” meant the expression of our hopes and dreams and concerns and was spoken and shared person to person rather than sent Up There?
What if “God” was all of us–the symbol of all our goodness and brokenness and aspirations?
What if “Worship” was simply a humble yet courageous honoring and respect for the best in us and our resolve to do better and be better in the eyes of Humanity?
One last thought for now: I’m only looking at My town, My area, My community. What are “People of Faith” doing, how are they spending their time and energy in Your area, Your town?
I hope much much more than “Worship.”
Wouldn’t it be great if Wonderers and Wanderers could Work with the Worshippers for Good. . .rather than God?