A question of worship

I very nearly entitled this entry “What do you do in worship, and what does it do in you?” but thought I’d psyche myself up to the question…

To provide a little context, there is a person I know who responds to worship quite differently from those around him, and the way expected by convention. He often arrives in plenty of time before the service, doesn’t rise or noticeably respond to any of the spoken prayers nor hymns, and even (I’m led to believe) will walk out when he feels he’s benefited sufficiently from the time of worship. During the service he draws. He sits there, sketchbook in hand, and responds visually. He produces very challenging and beautiful images which, during a meeting, we were given the opportunity to explore. His images don’t necessarily present the stories in the way you’d expect but can offer very interesting interpretations – far more striking (and debatably more relevant) than many sermons or sermon illustrations.

The group who were looking at these images consisted of many people, like myself, who are familiar with leading worship. We were challenged to think how we’d respond to someone in our own congregations acting in such a manner. I said that I’d like more people to do things like that in the services as it means they’re engaging with, and having a direct response to, what is shared. It harks back to my desire, by choice, to lead services with interactive elements and another preacher said similar in our meeting. We talked about the way people are frequently very passive in traditional style services and what we can do about that. I said I’d like to knit (but then I’d like to knit in most places).

With all these thoughts and discussion in my mind I would like to ask anyone reading this to comment on the initial question – and also what (if any) interactive things they’ve done in worship and valued.

4 thoughts on “A question of worship

  1. Hi Jo, yep I think that’s really interesting and inspired. I think it’s really important that people feel able to be themselves and to be creative in their God-space… I sometimes like just lying on the floor during worship and I know some people who paint… I guess the only tension would be making sure that people aren’t just coming and doing their own thing, but that there is some sort of community feel about it – a sense of sharing…?

  2. One of my congregation usually makes notes during the service including doodling – I’ve only seen her notes once but found them a great theological commentary around the themes raised in what was happening. I’d like more interactivity in services, but I think it’s a generational thing – many of my lot think responses are ‘too Catholic’ or ‘too Anglican’ (don’t know which is worse). We’ll be trying out a bit of interactivity with our URC focus on the Bible this coming year (Google Vision4life if you’re interested) – maybe people will decide they can take it after all.

  3. Hi!
    Very interresting question indeed. I don’t know people painting or drawing during worship, but I usually think a lot and imagine things… not necessarily linked to the sermon. I’m not really good with arts, but I often take notes of my thoughts. And I like to read those later.
    I like the idea of having a very personnal way to enjoy worship, and be touched in a very personnal way. But I also am very aware of the necessity of a common thing. We do gather for worship, don’t we? so if every one’s doing his/her own thing… I feel we would lose a sense of community, which is in my opinion already in danger.
    Why not sharing it with the community?

  4. I find interactive is a whole lot more difficult for the leader! But worth it. We’ve been doing ‘group lectio divina’ instead of sermons occasionally – bit early to tell how successful, but it has been interesting.
    I wonder if that guy who draws actually has Asperger’s Syndrome? His actions sound quite Aspie to me..

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