Friday, February 26, 2016

Avodah in Micha Mocha: the work in worship

In a conversation with someone close to me recently, I stated that I felt like I really needed something, spiritually.  I feel so dry.
They responded that I say that every few days.
I was stunned.
I had no idea.
I've felt this way for so long, truly, but didn't realize I was verbalizing it that frequently.

I am generally always working on some sort of study, reading a book or attending a study.  I am currently as well.  I take responsibility for my faith, and put effort into growth.  But I am not "feeling" nourished, despite the learning that I seek.

I learned in my studies recently how the word for worship in Hebrew - avodah - is also the word for work.  And a little light bulb went off.  We have to work at it.  This connected with something else I read recently about how there needs to be some structure in our personal time with Adonai.  I watched a speaker talking about fasting recently while home with my sick child.  One think I learned was that a large part of the prayer time in fasting is to be about worship.  It is prayer and confession and supplication, yes. But it is also about worship of the G*d we bring our requests to.  I have seen an underlying theme of the power of prayer recently in many of my friends facebook posts and such.  We must trust the G*d we seek, and part of re-aligning that trust is falling at his feet.  We have to put him back in the place that he is already in - within our own hearts and minds.
Has he ever stopped loving me any less? NO! Have I forgotten to keep him on the throne.  Yes. Was it a conscious decision? By no means.  But 'life' just keeps happening, and those quiet moments of prayer and reading and worship get pushed off by the 'stuff' that just gets in our faces.  The 'tyranny of the urgent' takes over.  I was recently in a job that required frequent, inconvenient, and urgent attention.  It didn't last long, because I was not allowed to be in a place that gave me control over that 'tyrant' of urgency. It became a major disruption in every aspect of life. Situations like this give us pause to realign our priorities once again.  But we learn and we grow.

Part of the work of worship, for myself, is deeply rooted in music.  A friend randomly encouraged me, years ago, to have music playing in my home at all times.  She even gave me some artist suggestions.  I gathered some up and played it quietly in the background.  But I would often forget.  I am at a point now where I struggle to find music I relate to.  But I am working to find some that I can worship thru, and to do so I must listen.  So while making dinner I try to always turn on some streams and tweak some stations. And I am also working to ignore those 'rules' imposed on me by others - this music isn't good because of this, or that music IS good because its on that station.  Neither are true 100% of the time.

Worship also must be about prayer.  I am aspiring to learn from prayer books.  The "Micha Mocha" prayer, if you are not familiar, has nothing to do with coffee, sadly.  It is a commonly used prayer from the prayer book, or siddur, used by most judaic congregations as part of the Shabbat, or sabbath, worship service.  It says, "Who is like you, oh Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, glorified in holiness? You are awesome in praise, working wonders oh Lord, who is like you oh Lord?"  No one compares to Him.  When we remind ourselves of the glory of G*d and his holiness, we cannot help but fall at his feet.
And little by little that nourishment returns.  And sprouts begin to come up out of that dry and frozen soil. Spring will come again.
If a relationship with G*d is important to us, we have to work at it.  Our schedules will certainly get disrupted at times.  As soon as you can, get back on track.  We will forget to pray, to sing, to listen.  Find ways to remind yourself to come back.  Set reminders on your phone, on your tablet.  Write a note on your nightstand or bathroom mirror.  Put a CD in your player in your car so you can be reminded when you start your vehicle.
God is awesome in praise, working wonders, and no one is like Him.