For four years I was an Assemblies of God minister and a monk with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at the Little Portion Hermitage. This is an excerpt from an unpublished book I’ve written called Taking Off My Comfortable Clothes.
Perhaps it is just me, but I don’t think the believers in Acts 2 were very surprised when the wind blew and shook the upper room when the disciples gathered for prayer and worship. Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:20). Would you really expect God to enter a room and not make just a little bit of noise? When God arrives, change is in the air.
When I was a monk, we gathered in the chapel at the Little Portion with an expectancy that we would meet with God. The physical acts of worship — kneeling, standing, raising our hands, making the sign of the cross — are designed to involve the whole person in a spiritual act of worship. We cannot separate the spiritual from the physical. Any truly spiritual act will find an expression through our bodies, whether that be in raising our hands as we sing of God’s glory, or stretching out our hands to serve those less fortunate.
You may think it very spiritual to be a monk or a nun who spends most of their days in prayer and contemplation of God. But I know of no monastic tradition, even those who spend up to 19 hours a day alone with God, where no work is done. Please do not get the impression that you’d be more spiritual if you didn’t have a job to go to and all that was required of you was to sit in a comfortable chair and worship God while heavenly music played in the background. Continue Reading