What We Believe
Four Doors to Meeting for Worship an excerpt from William P. Taber's book
In Four Doors to Meeting for Worship, William Taber writes that Meeting for Worship is not so much something we do but a state of consciousness we enter which brings us into communion with the Living Presence.
First Door: The Door Before
The Door Before refers to those times when we find ourselves in a worshipful state, reading the Bible or other inspirational readings, or engaging in a spiritual practice, at any time during the week. This is an important step toward personal spiritual growth and a settling more easily into a meaningful meeting for worship.
The Second Door: The Door Inward
Meetings for worship begin when Friends focus on the meeting-to-come, perhaps simply pausing for a few moments to visualize being in the meeting-to-come.
There are many ways to train our minds and bodies to settle. Such as repeating an inspirational passage, a mantra or centering prayer; praying for each person around the room; using mental images, such as imagining love flowing to each member of the circle, connecting everyone with each other and becoming aware of the Living Presence.
The most important thing is to let go of trying to do anything, and just be present.
The Third Door: The Door Within
The Door Within describes the experience of a “gathered” or “covered” meeting. For some it feels like having been lifted or expanded into and inward. The sharp boundaries of the self can become blurred and blended as we feel ourselves more and more united with fellow worshipers and with the Living Presence.
Someone may feel an inward motion of the Spirit to rise and speak a few words–to offer vocal ministry. When we are open to the mystery of the gathered meeting, we absorb the words rather than merely hearing and reacting to them. Silent ministry, the inconspicuous, invisible ministry of people who may never speak in meeting, is often more important than the spoken ministry, because it helps the meeting reach that state of consciousness in which minds and hearts and wills are opened and united.
The Fourth Door: The Door Beyond
As we approach the end of the meeting, we know that there are consequences from our having been here. We may have a clearer, keener focus. We may experience a heightened sensitivity to injustice and pain in the world. Those moments at the rise of meeting when Friends shake hands have enormous potential for transforming the grace of a gathered meeting into the grace of a transformed life. It may be helpful to ask ourselves, “What new insight has this time given me to take into my daily life?” Each handshake is a promise of our new or renewed and greater faithfulness in all that we do.