Today I remembered.
Finally, with no schoolwork looming over my head, no Hebrew translation to do, no readings to finish, no papers to write, I sat down on the couch with a cup of tea and a novel and planned on relaxing. As my eyes drooped I realized that, wonder of wonders, I actually had available to me the luxury of an afternoon nap. As I drifted through the layers of consciousness I found myself visiting feelings new and old, watching with wonder as my imagination spun yarns of dreams, and generally just languidly languishing in the warmth of the sun as I sunk deeper into the couch.
This morning I presided over a church service, attempting to construct a meaningful experience of community connection for that particular group at that particular time. A friend once brought up the idea that creating worship is in some ways like creating a sand painting, like Buddhist monks do. We spend many hours attentively putting all the pieces into place, choosing just the right words and notes and actions, and carefully placing them in an order that will hopefully be beautiful and meaningful, pulling people into deeper relationship with the divine and with each other. And then, just as the sand painting gets blown away by the wind, once a worship is done, it will never exist again. Each piece of the service unfolds uniquely in a particular voice, in a particular place, at a particular time, and never again will the pieces unfold in that exact same way.
I found myself wondering this afternoon, in the twists and turns of my bliss-enhanced nap-ish consciousness, what the difference is, if any, between meditation and worship. Both ought, I would hope, to lead us into deeper communion with God and each other, both ought to reveal new things to us about ourselves and God. Both ought to draw us closer to a path that follows more closely to the path that Holy Passion lures us to and along.
Lately the worships I've planned have involved more and more silence, more and more gaps for contemplation and individual meaning-making, more pictures, more sounds, and fewer, more carefully selected words. Perhaps it is because I myself am starved for chances to stop, breathe, listen, and then submit myself to the lure of the Divine, and I want to provide that kind of space for both myself and others.
Take a nap.