A Community of Astonishment, with Elizabeth Wills!

Staff_McDermott, TomThis Sunday, November 6, in eleven:eleven celebration, the incomparable singer-songwriter Elizabeth Wills is with us! You won’t want to miss it!

Elizabeth Wills’ dulcet, enchanting voice and deeply resonating lyrics are reason enough for not missing this Sunday!

good-stuff_hsBut another reason is that this Sunday we continue our series on “Good Stuff for a Well-Balanced Life.” Of all the Sundays in the series, this is the most important one NOT TO MISS as we look at “worship — the practice of cultivating a community of astonishment.”

Worship is what we do in eleven:eleven, perhaps as uniquely and curiously as you will ever experience in a church (or worship body) anywhere else. What was it that drew you into, and keeps you connected to, eleven:eleven celebration? How has it compared with your memories and experiences of church and worship elsewhere? What does coming to eleven:eleven celebration do for you? What do you leave with?

I want to suggest that it’s probably far more than you realize.

The poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Instructions for life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  

My ninth-grade English/Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Melton, used to instruct us at the beginning of each class, “Tell me what you noticed today on your way to school.” Of course, for the first few weeks, most of us had the same response. “Nothing.” “I slept on the bus.” “I didn’t want to be here.” Etc. But eventually we began to open our eyes and our attitudes; and, over time, day after day, without judgment, she eventually awakened us to the world around us, the people around us, the pain and joy and boredom and beauty and possibilities and surprising connections that were always around us. And sooner than we would have ever imagined as possible, we were a community of wonder and affirmation.

Cultivating community is about engaging our senses with the world, discovering what’s there, where we connect, what we can co-create, and telling others about it.

Frederick Buechner calls worship “the great astonishment.” Soren Kierkegaard, “the theater of love.” The Celtic priest and theologian J. Philip Newell calls worship our rehearsal with the very Ground of Being. Theologian Martin Buber said all true, authentic life (sacred life) is meeting and encounter. Poet/philosopher Mark Nepo would suggest it is “how we get there together.”

I hope you can join us Sunday as we explore with the music of Elizabeth Wills, poetry, and more of the best of what makes eleven:eleven celebration — cultivating the community of astonishment!

Sunday, November 6, 11:11 am

“worship — cultivating a community of astonishment”

featuring Elizabeth Wills

See you then!

Tom

 

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