It makes sense to me that our western day of worship is “Sunday.” Of course, we know that the term comes to us because we once worshipped the sun in earlier, slightly more pagan times. And yet the term “pagan” simply means “rural.” We humans who used to live unsophisticated lives in fields and on pastures, in villages and on hillocks were “the rural ones” to which “sophisticated” theologians referred with no small derision.
But living on an Island in the middle of the Salish Sea I find that my relationship to the “sun” has changed just as my relationship to the “Son” has changed a bit. My academic, theological training is wearing off to my great relief. My liturgical strictures (never very well-developed, were one to ask my clergy colleagues!) have loosened like rope knots fraying back to fibers and releasing their prey.
I often wonder about Jesus asking us daily to reconsider our lives in discernment while never once mentioning worship as a goal. And yet we spend an hour and a half in weekly worship while, how often do we reconsider and discern our lives in community?
One of the many things that impresses me about AA, ACA, ACOA and other addiction and para-addiction-related recovery programs is that they place such a high emphasis on self-examination in community, collegial formation, the hard work of daily changes of life, and discernment. Founded by clergy for addicts, these recovery programs help addicts to recover.
Are we not all addicts of one kind or another in our western culture? Addicts to food. Addicts to self. Addicts to work. Addicts to mates. Addicts to political drama. Addicts to the nightly news. Addicts to images, be they porn mags or catalogs. Addicts to painlessness and prescription drugs.
I used to love walking into a church. I used to love seeing the blazing brightness of the altar all lit up and sparkling with chalices and patens and candlesticks donated by Mrs. Havisham in 1923. But these days I relax into my more rural nature. Now, I love to walk into the sunlight and love the light and sparkle of the ocean. And a warm quilt.