A different Meeting for Worship

I was at Woodbrooke, the Quaker study centre in Birmingham. It was 8.30 am, time for the daily Meeting for Worship. Filled with the joy of a glorious sunlit winter morning, I felt moved to go outside instead, and sing. I am a trained singer, but have severe performance nerves. My joy is to sing in the natural world and whenever I go to places with beautiful grounds and, in this case, a lake, I go out and sing.

And so I did. Half-way round the lake I saw a woman sitting on a bench and, not wanting to disturb her, stopped singing until I had walked further on. I sang “Where’er you walk” and, as I did so, was more aware than usual of the significance of the words in a place where the trees stand tall and beautiful. As I sang “where’er you sit” my gaze fell on a pretty wooden bench in front of me and, as I continued to sing, the woman I’d seen earlier squeezed past me and sat on the bench. So far from being disturbed, she had deliberately come to listen. And I sang not only to the trees and the bench, but to her, and it seemed that the Spirit was with us and the music more beautiful than ever.  When  I’d finished the song, we exchanged a nod and I gave a namaste of thanks and recognition.

Feeling joy in my heart, I then moved on to walk the grassy labyrinth near by. As I walked round, weaving this way and that, a man entered the labyrinth, and we walked on our different parts of the path, knowing that as I turned to come out and he continued to come in, we would eventually meet. As we did, grinning broadly. He stepped to one side, and waved me through.

Meeting for Worship can take many forms.