Queries for Discernment and Seeking

I was asked by the clerk of a committee I am on to guide worship the other day. He wanted me not to prepare a sermon but rather help prepare our hearts and minds for doing work around discernment. The point for us as a group was to hold that tension between programmed and unprogrammed, to create space for listening and silence, while allowing space to sharing out of the silence around some of the things we’re working through as a group. This of course is a tension I love to explore and experiment with and I personally feel most comfortable in these (un)programmed meetings. The evening before I worked with a couple friends on discerning some queries for our group. I really like what emerged from our preparation and thought it might be worth sharing for others who are doing discernment work or are seeking to hear God’s voice.

Here’s an outline of what we did.

Opening Prayer:

Scripture: 1 kgs 19:11-12
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

Extended Silent Worship:

Worship Sharing Queries:

  1. What are the fears, hopes and the expectations that we carry into this work, or that we notice others carry as we enter into this process?
  2. What do I need to do to prepare myself to be attentive to whatever way God chooses to reveal God-self? What are the potential distractions or obstacles that will hinder me from being aware or open to the movement of God?
  3. Consider a time when you were searching for something? Within that process of searching what was helpful for you and what was challenging?

Closing Prayer:

Published by Wess

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. He works at Guilford College, enjoys riding his Triumph Bonneville, and listening to music.

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