On the Nature of Meeting for Worship
by Arthur Berk
Early Friends in their description of worship either used the term waiting worship or silence before the Lord. They did not refer to their encounter with God or Christ as unprogrammed meeting or meditation which are 19th century terms.
Rather Fox and other Christ-centered Quakers, because they were truly connected to Jesus, understood that in worship, they depended on God for inspiration, if not for enlightenment. These Friends were cognizant of the palpable fact that the Lord, when He spoke, was speaking to all people, not just isolated individuals. Small wonder God expected our friends to listen to Truth and, perhaps more important, to obey Him in all ways. This does not mean that early Friends, before they indulged in waiting worship, did not have expectations of what God was about to proclaim. But because Fox and other first generation Friends loved the Lord so assiduously, they were able to overcome their expectations and submit to Jesus' admonitions, understanding that He and He alone is Lord of our lives.
To the contrary, when Friends refer to unprogrammed worship, more often than not they are implying that they are in control, determining their own visions, not being concerned whether they are in unity with God or not. In other words, they are indulging in group meditation. In true worship God speaks and we listen. And we in our waiting are open to God's directives because we are in the love and power of Jesus, our Savior. May we pray that God gathers us in Jesus's caring prophetic love.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5 & 6