I became enthralled with the idea of God at a very young age. Almost before I was old enough to think, I was drawn to the colourful vestments, the oscillating vibrations of the pipe organ, the sickeningly sweet waft of incense, and the multi-sensory experience that constituted worship. I reasoned that worship occurred in churches where rituals were followed according to prescribed patterns. But long before buildings became the
repositories of sacred space, the impulse of the human heart has been drawn toward Transcendence.
It is the idea of human spirituality being the domain of religion that makes the discussion of worship an important one.
Just as all of human existence seeks to abandon chaos for a sense of
order, the spiritual impulse seeks an organizing influence to bring structure and definition—religion if you will. But what happens to the impulse to worship when it is not channelled along religious lines?
Composers, artists and authors often refer to themselves as conduits of creativity. It is as if something greater than their own
imaginations grips them and chooses them to deliver a gift to the world. Plato observed this phenomenon of inspiration and reasoned that all creations exist first in a realm of forms and ideas, whether abstract, like a song, or literal, like a chair. Karl Jung spoke of archetypes and the collective unconscious. Rupert Sheldrake
described morphic fields. Each of these writers is attempting to define the reality of inspiration or influence and the resulting creativity that seems to define humankind—the writers of music, the builders of buildings, or the growers of gardens, encouragers of others, makers of meals.
Is it possible that the acceptance and active performance of these impressions is an expression of worship—that worship occurs in the channelling of the creative impulse? Sometimes this being gripped is described as “calling.” Some parts of our lives simply feel as if they were meant to be. If that is true, would it not be the highest form of honour that can be expressed to perform these functions with excellence? And wouldn’t the active identification of these qualities in others, along with the encouragement to use them to their fullest, be one of the more profound roles of the spiritual care giver?
Whether or not a ritual is performed, human beings need to feel they matter and that they serve some useful purpose. It is in the belief that we matter and make a difference in the world that humankind finds its sense of meaning. And it is in the act of making
that difference, whether small or large, that ones truest form of worship is expressed.
The writer of Ecclesiastes made the observation, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Worship occurs whenever our hands do well whatever our hands find to do. And life is enriched when we believe in what
we are doing.