Queries for Silence and Expectant Waiting
Worship sharing with queries is one way for Friends to explore a topic through self-examination and in community. This exercise has worship sharing guidelines and suggested queries for Silence and Expectant Waiting.
Materials and Setup
Materials & Setup:
Choose one or two queries from the list in the Instructions tab. Or make up your own! Queries are questions for reflection and shoud be open-ended. Avoid questions with yes or no answers.
It helps to set expectations with your group before beginning. You’ll find those in the Instructions tab.
Worship Sharing Guidelines
Listening is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot listen to the words another is speaking if you are preoccupied with your appearance or with impressing the other, or are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or are debating about whether what is being said is true or relevant or agreeable. Such matters have their right place, but only after listening to the words as they are being uttered.
Listening is a primitive act of love in which a person gives himself of another’s word, making himself accessible and vulnerable to that word.
~Opening Doors to Quaker Worship, William Stringfellow
Worship sharing is worship while expressing our own experiences and listening to others, sometimes in response to a query, a series of questions, or a poem or image. Usually the group gathers in a circle and sometimes centers on an object such as a candle, a work of art, or an object from nature. We speak only from our own knowledge and experience.
Prior to worship sharing the leader should explain some guidelines, reminding the participants that sometimes what is shared is very personal, even painful, but always confidential.
Go around the circle and share names if the group is new in working together
Start with a period of silent centering then present the query, questions, poem, or image
Allow silence during and after each contribution
No-one is required to speak
Each contribution should be welcomed as a gift
Be aware of the needs of each person in the group
Everyone’s contribution is of equal value
Respect confidentiality, whatever is said in the group stays within the group
Be serious but not somber, laughter can make your group feel frivolous
Do not ask follow-up questions
End with handshakes or held hands or another gesture that feels appropriate and supportive
Suggested Queries to Use with Silence and Exectant Waiting
How do I listen for God?
What happens in the silence?
What does expectant waiting feel like?
What are we expecting?
How can I help help nurture all of those present in meeting for worship?
How can I prepare my heart, body, and mind before meeting for worship?
How can I keep the Light present in my worship?
How can I use silence outside of meeting for worship?
How will the Light within me guide me toward what is right, honest, and loving?
What is vocal ministry?
What is prophecy?
Is the vocal ministry offered in your meeting or church prophetic? Should it be? How would you recognize this?
Do you experience sitting in silence during meeting for worship as different from silent meditation or prayer? If so, could you describe som eof the differences?
Have you offered vocal ministry that you considered prophetic? What was it like for you? How did others respond?
Credits: Some queries were originally published in Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly by Margery Post Abbott