Authority is the power to name what’s real, to establish the terms of engagement, to frame the focus. Often in congregational life, the ordained pastor or priest holds exclusive authority, at least in worship, as expressed in the fact that this might be the only one whose voice you’d hear. But we believe that authority is a gift of the Holy Spirit that, from time to time, visits upon every one of us. Thus, the Homily of the People, a time when all in worship are invited to “share of our meditation.”
Following the Homily of the Pastor and a 5-minute period of silence, the Homily of the People is modeled after a Friends’ (Quaker) Meeting. But it can also be understood by what it’s not. It’s not a question-and-answer period such as you might see at a lecture. (Usually the pastor doesn’t speak at all.) It’s not a discussion such as you might see at a workshop. (Usually there’s much silence between comments.) It’s not an altar call at which people proclaim or defend their faith. The pastor doesn’t moderate, and neither are parishioners to raise their hands or wait to be called on. Sometimes a meditation is in direct response to the pastor’s sermon, sometimes it’s an extension of some point therein, and sometimes it’s self-contained. Mostly, it needs to be experienced to be understood. And so again we say as Christ is remembered to have said, “Come and see.”
At the conclusion of worship, just prior to the final hymn, we gather, hand-holding-hand, in a circle around the center pews. Here we each introduce ourselves and share any announcements we have. We conclude by saying the Lord’s Prayer.
On the 3rd and 5th Sundays of every month, we forgo scripture readings and sermon, and hear instead a story from our collection of Godly Play stories. These are based on scripture but in the mode of interactive and manipulable objects such as you’d find in a Montessori classroom. For more information about this, please go to our Godly Play page.