What is Worship?

worship (n.) Look up worship at Dictionary.comOld English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (West Saxon) “condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown,” from weorð “worthy” (see worth) + -scipe (see -ship). Sense of “reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being” is first recorded c. 1300. The original sense is preserved in the title worshipful “honorable” (c. 1300).worship (v.) Look up worship at Dictionary.comc. 1200, from worship (n.). Related: Worshipped; worshipping.

unnamed-1It’s interesting to think about the concept of worship in an etymological way, yes?  No matter how you choose to worship or what you choose to worship – you are taking time to think about and care for something of worth.  UUs have the freedom to decide where and how and what they worship together as a community and as individuals.
This past Sunday the children talked about what “we” worship and then we talked about where we worship.  Responses ranged from the church, to bedrooms to nature.  After the discussion we drew pictures of a place we imagined would be nice to worship in.  One fifth grader took his architectural drawing home because he wanted to portray three floors and had only had time for part of one.  Most of the pictures are shown in the blog photo.  There was much discussion about how to portray 3-D cushions.  It is true, comfort is often overlooked in houses of worship.
And then came the fun part – I encouraged the children to build a place of worship using our accordion room dividers and all the furniture they could move.  Upon completion, one child announced she was the boss.  When I asked what a more appropriate name for boss might be, someone else called out “Prime Minister!”  Clearly, we have work to do.  There were tickets to go in and out and a quiet place in the corner where I have to admit I sat because the activity was something to behold.  Alyson, my adult volunteer suggested that perhaps chaos was a form of childish worship.  Good point.  We had time to sing one song before we had to put everything back.  And for the first time in a long time I got the question, “Can we do this again?”  My answer was, “Of course!”  Next time I’m thinking of giving them sheets and clothes pins and hopefully we will have time for more of a child designed service.

MLK and the UU 7 Principles

Today I read the book My Uncle Martin’s Words for America by Angela Farris Watkins to our religious education class which is a book about Dr. Martin Luther King and the important vocabulary words he used in his work – words like justice, freedom, and non-violence.  When we finished the book we had a great discussion about the work that Dr. King did for black people and all the work we still need to do for minorities.  We talked about the Black Lives Matter sign that is hung outside our Society and why we need to have that sign hanging even though some people say the problem of racism is fixed.  A second grader said, “We need to take care of everyone, but sometimes we need to take care of some groups of people more than others.  If Frank and I each have a house, but mine is on fire, then we would need to take care of mine.”

We used the story to see how Dr. King and his work and words embody our seven UU Principles and the children decided that he worked on all seven throughout his life.  I knew from readings I had done that Dr. King actually spent a lot of time studying Unitarian Universalism and ultimately chose to become a devout Christian to better lead a mass movement.  I recommend you read To Pray Without Apology by Rosemary Bray McNatt if this interests you.

Unitarian Universalists rely on many sources, including the Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.  We ended by agreeing that UUs can certainly consider Dr. King an important person whose legacy can help us work towards a better future for everyone.

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