Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Holistic Worship

Our dog walker's worship has been filled with surprises.  Our little "pack" has grown each week.  This week, we met a 3 month old Swiss Burmese Mountain dog.  Cute and fuzzy, and when full grown, will weigh in at 150lb or so.  We’ll want to stay on his good side.

Each Sunday, a couple of labs run out to greet us and insist their bath-robed, coffee toting owners come out and meet us too.  This has sparked some good, impromptu conversations with our neighbors.  Conversations that wouldn't happen without this ministry. 

I think this is what I appreciate about our "dog walker's worship."  The "holistic" aspect of it. 

We tend to "compartmentalize" worship.  It happens outside our everyday lives.  On a Sunday, a day most of us are off, though not as many as there used to be.  We come to a special place, designed for well behaved adults, where we sit and sometimes stand, to praise God.

Pets are not allowed.  Heaven forbid!  Though pets play such an important part in the lives of so many of us.  They are companions for the elderly.  Trusted confidantes to the young navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence.   Their presence in a household is a blessing a thousand times over.  But worship makes no provision for them. 

The same dynamic happens with children.  In order to worship, children are expected to behave like little adults, because worship is designed for adults.  Children's sermons, and activity bags notwithstanding.  Aren't these really designed to keep children entertained so they will sit quietly, like little adults? 

And if they don't keep a child occupied sufficiently, parents are often left with no other option but to rush their child out of worship to a nursery, or a "cry room" where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" often feeling embarrassed and apologetic.   I remember those mortified feelings, though I learned that I was bothered by my kids making noise more than the people around me.  I think that’s still the case today, but I don’t know that it helps parents now, anymore than it did for me. 

Our dog walker's worship offers a welcome, holistic approach to worship.  We don't need to step out of our lives to join God.  Our lives are a blessing from God, and God is found in the everyday living of our lives, walking the dog, playing with our kids.  God is present in all of it.  

I'm wondering how we can bring this holistic approach to worship and apply it to children.  We have a dog walker's worship.  What about a liturgy of the playground? 

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