We shall not cease from exploration/ And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time
(T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”)
In my seminary days (35 years ago now) I remember hearing, “Being is more important than doing.” Those who said this held that we act out of a centre that comes from dwelling in God, so that however important acting is, being is more important.
Recently I read an article titled, “Churches could fill their pews with millennials if they just did this.” The author doesn’t quite deliver on the title, but his main point is as follows: “I’
When I was in seminary, I resonated more with that writer than with those who told me that being precedes doing. I wanted to do justice more than I wanted to pray. Over the years, however, I have changed my mind. Doing is easy—for a short time. Doing justice for a lifetime requires something more. Doing requires a deep inner connection with God. Doing requires Being.
So today I want to describe a lifetime of searching for God, and some of the ways in which God has found me. These descriptions fall into two groups: what you might call mountain-top experiences, and the daily routine of spiritual disciplines.
The Mountain Tops
Recently I read a history and examination of Taizé, an excellent study that reconnected me with this significant week in my life. Then I thought of trying the Taizé worship in our home. I suggested it to Lois and she readily agreed. This is what our adapted prayer looks like:
I have learned several things from our practice of Taizé. One is that I do silence more easily than Lois does. She has too much energy to sit still for long! Another is that when you have talk about your concerns with each other, to pray “For this person” is enough. God is not impressed with our false eloquence, but responds to our hearts’ desire.
I have found also that I pray better in my own private prayers when we also pray together. I have other times when I read the Bible and pray on my own, but I hold those times better when I am also engaged in regular prayer with Lois.