Worship implies a deity, one of our committee members insisted, worship means one above all, and I don’t believe in any of that anymore.
And though I knew what he meant, I thought to myself, How many miracles have you witnessed today? Too many to count. How many places where there may have been nothing, is there something, and is that something beautiful, joyous, beyond measure? How much is worthy of praise, and whatever could we do to earn such a possibility as this one life, and how many shouts of joy and thanks could we offer and still not express sufficient gratitude? I thought, we should worship more, not less.
Glory be: Friendships renewed! Praise be: Bodies renewed; Sing out for: New Homes and remodeling plans; Let us give thanks for: Wedding proposals and positive pregnancy tests; Let us worship: Growing life inside us all, good news of life’s re-creation, this new day…
Worship. Praise, give thanks. On Sunday morning, on every morning (if we’re lucky and willing). Praise beauty as it flourishes.
There are other words Unitarian Universalists use to describe what we’re up to on a Sunday morning – we say: services, meetings, gatherings – these words are all good. But there’s something about the word – Worship – that gets to more what I hope we’re up to, what I hope we are experiencing when we meet and gather together.
Worship – it’s not a time just for our brains (though bring those too) – that’s what “meeting” says to me, brain time. And it’s not a time that’s for work exactly – that’s what “service” says to me (though you should expect some heavy lifting).
Worship is a bigger word with bigger implications. It says, not only does this time matter, but matters in the biggest way. It’s not just a gathering about anything, about whatever curious thing we’ve decided to talk about on any given day. It’s what we care most about. What we want our lives most to be about.
Worship says, there’ll be singing, and there’ll be silence, there’ll be candles and there’ll be prayers.
And, worship says there’ll be preaching – not lectures or talks or even reflections – these are all words we use sometimes - but what I hope you expect when you come to Worship on Sundays, is preaching – preaching - rooted in a specific religious tradition, boldly proclaiming a particular religious vision. Preaching that seeks to comfort, and seeks to challenge, to let loose and to form. Preaching that holds out before the gathered people, not just who we are now, but who we are called to become, both as individuals and as a religious community. Preaching is vigorous, and often passionate, and it has everything to do with what matters Ultimately.
Which means that when the preaching is flowing – it’s coming from my deepest sense of self – and from someplace that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
And so, in our worship time, especially in the preaching time, I show up, all the way, with my whole heart, and also, I get out of the way, and welcome, Spirit.
Worship invites us all to show up that way - with our whole, most authentic selves, and invite in something beyond ourselves, bravely seeking wholeness in a too-often broken world. Worship says you’ll find here real people carrying their biggest dreams and biggest fears, their tears and their laughter, their darkest secrets and their deepest yearnings. Worship says – we might dance, we might sway our arms in the air, we might call out...We might do whatever we need to do to name and praise the surprising work of love in this world, the bright glory of life that just keeps on coming, lift our heads and our hearts and let them open to All this Beauty, offering itself to us as possibility, again, again, again.