Without a shared belief in God, many people wonder, what do Unitarian Universalists do – or mean – when they “worship?” Tracing the history of the word “worship” helps to give an answer. Worship comes from the Old English word, weorthscippen, meaning to ascribe worth to something, or to shape things of worth. That’s exactly what we aim to do in our worship services, whether for a traditional holiday, a Sunday morning service, or as a part of a rite of passage.
Several years ago, a publication from our denomination said this about worship:
One is worshipping when:
- something beautiful is perceived; or
- there is a deep sense of connectedness with other persons, with the natural world, or with the transcendent; or
- one gains new insight or a new sense of wholeness; or
- one perceives an ethical challenge; or
- life is deliberately focused or ordered.
Using song and word, silence and story, lay and ordained voices, we worship.