Daily Riches: Setting an Intention for Worship and Wonder (Christian Panders and Paul Murray)

“We prepare the children before they go in [to Children’s church] with the expectations as to what it means to enter that space: ‘Are you ready to be with God?’ They take their shoes off, and they look you in the eye, and if they say ‘No.’ then they can wiggle out in the hall until they’re ready, and when they say ‘Yes’ they’re expected to take a seat and listen and participate. …Oh, I would love to start church that way. …we haven’t really trained people on how do you help people prepare to be in a worshipful state of mind. There is more attention to that in a yoga session than there is in worship. People will come and be present, and do some breathing, and prepare themselves to be in their bodies and fully present to what’s happening in yoga more than they would in a worship service. In my opinion, in the many thousands of worship services I have attended in my life, very few start with ‘setting an intention.'”  (Homebrewed Christianity)

“Considering God not so much as an ‘object’ outside of ourselves, for whose greater glory we undertake all our different works, but rather as a ‘subject’ alive within and around us, a divine Presence, ‘in whom we live and move and have our being,’ is a notion explored [by] Thomas Merton. Merton … makes a distinction between two kinds of intention, a right intention and a simple intention. When we have a right intention … ‘we seek to do God’s will’ but ‘we consider the work and ourselves apart from God and outside of Him.’ But ‘when we have a simple intention, we…do all that we do not only for God but, so to speak, in Him. We are more aware of Him who works in us than of ourselves or of our work.’” Paul Murray

“You will fill me with joy in your presence.”
Psalm 16:11

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you arrive at church “ready to be with God” or are you more poised to “wiggle out in the hall?”
  • Do you do anything so as to be “fully present” in worship?
  • Do you have a “simple intention” for the worship service? Is your intention to drop your guardedness with God and let him have his way in your life? Do you remind yourself at the start of every service?

Lord, let us be done with merely going through the motions of worship.

For More: The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality by Paul Murray

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and read my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less.  Bill

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