Callid Keefe-Perry shares how Quakers used to worship wherever and whenever they felt the Spirit moving, and how exciting it can be to do that today.
- Subscribe to QuakerSpeak so you never miss a video
- Read Friends Journal to see how other Friends describe the substance of Quaker spirituality
- Visit FCNL to Lobby with Quakers on Capitol Hill
- Work for peace with justice with AFSC.
- Have you ever experienced the kind of “opportunity” that Callid is talking about, where worship came to you unplanned?
- What do you think of the distinction that Callid makes between being ordered under the world or ordered under God? What is a time when you felt ordered under God?
I think that when we say yes to God in our conviction, we are saying no to Caesar. And most of us, including myself, still live by Caesar’s clock, which is our work day, our soccer practices, our meetings with therapists, all of which are good things. We should be in therapy if we need to be in therapy. We should bring the kids to soccer practice if the kids are supposed to be in soccer practice. But the question continues to resound: what are we ordered under? Are we ordered under the world, or are we ordered under God?
Why Our Worship Shouldn’t Be Limited to Sunday Morning
My understanding is that part of the original openings that became our monthly meetings was this impulse – this impetus – to step away from the steeple houses (the churches) and away from a special Sunday morning time with the family to an opening into the constant practice of living into that kingdom of God.
And so that meant that we had these things traditionally called opportunities, so when we met by the well, if it was time to have some worship because we saw in each other’s eyes it was time for worship, well then we worshiped at the well. Where two or more are gathered, right?
If the baker was a Friend and I was going to buy some bread in the bakery and we got into a time to worship, then it was time to worship.
Now, is that romanticized? Of course. People are people; we’ve been clay-footed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Quaker or not. But I do think that that mentality – which is that at any moment in time we could be caught up in this moment of realization that it’s time to worship – has largely been lost, and I think it’s too bad. I love worshiping in public. I love having long extended graces in restaurants. I’ve worshiped in lots of different places and it’s beautiful because it carves out our lives in a way that makes us remember whose we are and what we’re for.
Does that mean that I’ve turned my life over and have come up through the flaming sword and have no sin? Hell no, it doesn’t mean that. But I do think that we can practice having the world’s idea of worship being on Sunday go away so that worship happens when worship is supposed to happen.
We don’t initiate worship. God initiates worship and we respond. To say that it only happens at a certain time on Sunday I think misses the idea and the impetus of the power of our worship, which is that we are, in our human-ness, responding to this divine invitation, which is always at work. Not just when the bell hits ten on Sunday morning.
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.