A Moment of Grace

‘Grace’, Painting by Krassimira Vidolovska. Used with permission under GDFL.

What really happens in the worship experience?  Regardless of one’s theological orientation – humanist, theist, Buddhist, pagan – there is often an unspoken encounter with an unseen order.  For the theist, that order is the reality of God.  For the Buddhist, it is an awareness of no separation between self and everything else.  For the humanist, it may be acknowledging our individual roles in the larger body of humanity.  For the pagan, it is the spiritual reality within the natural world.  Wherever one places one’s faith, the deepest experience that happens in worship is often unseen.  A worship leader can follow the prescribed steps in preparing for worship, and the result can still be uninspiring.  The candles can be lit, the incense smoldering, the words written down carefully, the scripture thoughtfully exegeted – and there can still be no transformative moment in the service…

At a transformative moment, a constellation of tradition, relationships, meanings, hopes, and fears is present in the worshiping community.  There is the covenant that each individual has committed to honor and engage as a member of the community.  There also has to be something that none of the practices, preparations, and participation in covenantal community can create – and that is a moment of grace.

Wayne Arnason & Kathleen Rolenz, Worship That Works, 139-140

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