It is Official!
Well, it is officially official! Authentic Freedom Ministries will be offering Sunday “worship” services starting January 8, 2012. And, all I can do is sit in breathless awe and wonder. And the awe and wonder is over the overwhelming support, positive feedback and interest in what we will be offering. Apparently the thoughts and suspicions that have haunted me for these past 20 years are real. People are hungry spiritually, starving actually, and have not or are not finding the fulfillment to this longing through their Sunday worship alone or in the absence of Sunday worship. While this may not be true for some, it seems to be true for many. So, in response to that hunger, we will be offering something as a complement to traditional Western worship or as an alternative. Here’s what it will look like (at least initially):
In my experience and observation, what is frequently missing from the traditional ways in which we have been worshipping is time to discover the Divine that resides within us. Instead, we worship the God “out there” and hear someone else’s interpretation of what that God looks like, acts like, smells like, feels like, tastes like (ie: a dry and tasteless wafer that sticks to the roof of your mouth). Then, we are told the laws and rules of our chosen Church and are expected to abide by these rules because that is what we are told to do…..but we are never given the tools to come to know God within our hearts and we are never empowered to allow that knowledge to guide our actions, our thoughts, our behaviors, etc. At the end of the day, we are rarely given the tools through which we can REMEMBER the Love that we Are and heal the wounds within that prevent us from remembering this truth. Then, there is the additional challenge that some religious doctrine tells us that we are NOT this love…but instead, that we are inherently evil and that love has to be earned and that it can be taken away if we do not follow the rules of the Church or the angry “god.” SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…….our goal at Authentic Freedom Ministries is to give you the tools through which you can REMEMBER the Love that you are…..and heal the spiritual wounds and fears that might be standing in the way of you remembering that love so that you can live the life of joyful contentment that is your natural state. In the context of worship, it might look like this:
An Opening Song that states our intention to be open to knowing the Divine that lives within our hearts
A Scripture Reading recognizing that Hebrew and Christian scripture does possess a wisdom beyond us when we allow God to speak to us directly through it, unfettered by doctrine or dogma or someone’s political agenda.
Mantra/Chant a tool that helps to engage and thereby calm our monkey minds so that we can be peaceful enough to hear the voice of God within us
Contemplation/Meditation a tool that helps us to be open to the voice of the Divine within us, a source for inspiration, insight, comfort, healing, discovery, challenge, invitation, empowerment.
Sharing we learn and grow through each other’s discoveries and insights
Ritual ritual empowers us to embody the insights, healings, comforts, discoveries, challenges we gain through contemplation. And….the ritual objects, through our prayers and intentions, carry the energy of these insights, healings, etc.
Song of Mission we are invited to take our interior relationship with the Divine out into the world in service to God and for the benefit of all of humankind. We are called to be God’s hands, ears, eyes, heart in the world. We accept this call and say “yes” through our songs of mission.
Asking for your prayerful support
So, as we step into the call to bring forth contemplative worship, the ministry team of Authentic Freedom Ministries invites and welcomes your thoughts and prayers and any other means of support that you may be called to offer. We offer this, not in competition or in conflict with what other houses of worship are providing, but to answer to the call of those that hunger and thirst for more. We recognize that some are called to a contemplative path and offer this service for anyone called to that path.
In gratitude on behalf of the Authentic Freedom Ministries team,
Lauri Lumby, Spiritual Director
Authentic Freedom Ministries