Benedict’s Rule: Arranging Our Worship

Chapter 47 of the Rule deals with a very important matter:  the arrangement for worship.  Because worship is the central act of the people of God, it must be done with the combination of regulation and reverence.  And, it is the responsibility of the Abbot to plan and announce the worship of the community.

We do not live in a monastic setting, so we may think that this portion of the Rule has little to do with us, but that is not so.  The way we arrange for our times of daily worship (to say nothing of our corporate worship in church) is a reflection of how we view it.

For example, our worship books should not be scattered about after we use them, but rather they should be arranged so that we can return to them easily and naturally.  When we do not “arrange” our books and other materials, we can become distracted in trying to “get everything together” in the midst of trying to worship God.

This means either having a time before our devotions to set things in order, or to do so at the end of our time of devotion, so that our materials will be ready and waiting for us the next time we worship.

At first, this little task may seem like an unnecessary chore, or at best, a “time saver.”  But as time goes by, we find that it is more than that.  It is a way of tending to the arrangement of things, so that we can focus our attention on God without distraction and interruption.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 43 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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