Haunted Houses & Spooky Rituals

Kelchkommunion  -- Public Domain
Kelchkommunion — CC BY-SA 3.0

Deconstructing Worship

The people come forward
a long line —
younger and older
richer and poorer
black and white
republican and democrat
male and female
gay and straight and …

I was in the line
and now I am watching,
caught up in the mystery
of this grand parade.
Are we spooked
or spooky?

Do we really understand
what is happening
when we take the bread and the cup,
the body and the blood?

Are we genuinely united
with one another,
formed into real community
a true foretaste
of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice?

Are we responding
to a divine insistence
or a long-ingrained habit
do we really know
do we really care?

Call to worship
sing the hymns
pray the prayers
give the offering
stand kneel sit
eyes open eyes closed
mind open mind closed
heart open heart closed
benediction!

It was a simple statement
assumed to be true
a theological armor-piercing arrow
“The trouble with you Protestants
is that you don’t know
what to do with
the Body of Christ
after the worship is completed.”

“Sure we do
we sent the Body of Christ
out into the world
to do the work of Christ.”

Silence!

Is worship the insistence
to which we must respond…
or the response
to an unheard call?

Yes, it is!

Worship is haunted
   and it haunts…
is spooky
   and it spooks…
because we live in Holy Saturday
the knife-edge beween
cross and resurrection.

It is no surprise
that worship is the knife-edge
between insistence and response
between memory and promise
between haunted and haunting
between stories of remembrance
   and liturgies of insurrection
between the temporal and the eternal
   Tillich’s Eternal Now

Sometimes I am too spooked
   to sense the “eternal”
sometimes too spooky
   to be aware of the now
so, I come
I come expecting
   but expecting what…
      expecting insistence?

Sometimes when insisted upon
   my hackles are raised
   the hair on the back of my neck sticks out
      and I resist with all my might…
sometimes when insisted upon
   I get goose bumps
   overwhelmed with awe
      and disoriented
and sometimes when called
   I don’t even hear the phone ring
   or, checking caller ID, don’t answer
   or I hang up too quickly.

Eyes open      eyes closed
mind open      mind closed
heart open      heart closed
benediction!

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