For this week's journaling, return to your memory of a meaningful communal worship experience, or think of a new one. Weddings and funerals count as well as Sunday services and special holiday observances. How do you think the presence of a community affected your meaningful experience?
-Chanting with a Nichiren Buddhist group. At first it was kind of weird but after I got used to it, there was something energetic about many people chanting together. We were encouraged to chant alone but it's not the same. I used to chant along with a youtube video. Again, not the same as chanting with real people and experiencing that energy in person and in real-time.
-UU Sunday service. I enjoy it most when the house band UU2 plays. Jehovah's Witnesses would never* allow secular music in their "churches" so I was pretty surprised when UU2 played Pink Floyd. Various members give their gift of song and music. I've been called on a few times to read the children's story or a passage with the worship theme. Music speaks to me so I'm quite happy that my UU congregation is musically inclined.
-Pagan family's ritual. This was the first time I participated in a pagan group ritual. I believe the family was Wiccan. After the ritual, we shared a vegetarian meal. The event occurred at the beginning of my new spiritual journey so I really didn't know what to make of it. However, I wouldn't mind participating in other group rituals even though I am a solitary.
My preference is to perform rituals and practice alone. However, I really enjoy sharing and learning from others in the UU community whether in person or online. I think both are necessary to have a complete spiritual practice.
What do you appreciate most about worshipping with a community? What are some things you can do - actions within your own power to accomplish - that would help you to experience worship more deeply?
I appreciate being part of the energy that comes with being in a community where you truly belong. For years after I was formally expelled from JW, I still occasionally attended the meetings. The last one I attending was their 2010 celebration of Jesus' death. It felt all wrong and I never went back again. That was truly the first step of my new spiritual journey.
My goal for this year is to visit neighboring UU congregations. Since each congregation is autonomous, the worship and energy will be different in each one. I would also like to participate more in programs sponsoring by my home congregation; my work schedule prevents me from even attending regularly.