The word ‘worship’ comes from the Old English word "worth-ship," which reminds us that to worship is to pay attention to that which is of worth. The poet Mary Oliver writes, “I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention.” To worship is to pay attention to what is real, to wake up to the mystery and wonder of the present moment. To worship is to feel the presence of God or Spirit and the companionship of others in the worshipping community.
Good worship includes both the vertical and the horizontal dimensions. The horizontal is about intimacy--reaching out to those around us, and letting others reach out to us. The vertical dimension is about ultimacy--touching and being touched by what is deep and profound and sacred. And the church exists to help you go in both directions.
Our community gathers on Sunday mornings at 10:30 for worship—to sing together, to say prayers and light candles and be in silence together, to remember who we are and whose we are. But Sunday morning is not the only time we worship. When we gather in a Small Group Ministry circle, or feed the hungry at Community Meals, or sit in Buddhist meditation; that can be worship too. As can be washing dishes in the church kitchen or attending a committee meeting.
The UU minister Jacob Trapp wrote, "To worship is to stand in awe under a heaven of stars, before a flower, a leaf in sunlight or a grain of sand. To worship is to work with dedication and with skill; it is to pause from work and listen to a strain of music. Worship is loneliness seeking communion; it is a thirsty land crying out for rain. Worship is the mystery within us reaching out to the mystery beyond. It is an inarticulate silence yearning to speak; it is the window of the moment open to the sky of the eternal."