I don’t go to church to worship. At least, not in the traditional sense.
This is the conclusion I came to, after a comment by PeaceBang. I am glad that there are those who come to our churches to worship. I think that all forms of spirituality enhance the experience for each of us. Okay, maybe not sacrificing a chicken. But then again, I’ve never been privy to that particular experience.
However, if going by the standard definition of worship, that’s not why I go to church.
Per the American Heritage dict, worship is:
1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
2. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
I’m not a Christian and I am a theist only in the broadest sense of the word “God.”
So what do I worship?
PeaceBang noted that “your post validates my sad conclusion that we are, in fact, worshiping ourselves.”
Tee-hee. I’ve been president of our church. BELEEEEEVE me, I don’t worship our church. Of course, anyone who has been a church president who doesn’t run screaming into the night … oh, I’m sorry. That’s another topic.
But getting away from worship and into the heart of the matter … so, if I don’t worship a deity and don’t worship my church, why do I go? Is it just for community? Just to be around like-minded individuals, and can’t I do the same thing going to a meeting of the Sierra Club?
I go to a Unitarian Universalist church, because I believe that is where I can take my spirit, my soul, for its learning. I can learn to be a better person at my church. I can think about what my purpose is here on earth at my church. I can search and find answers to the questions that call out from my heart and not feel that I must keep them separate from the questions that call out from my brain. I am a Unitarian Universalist because that is the only thing I can be. I cannot say it better than A. Powell Davies:
"Why should any of us be confined within a single area of religious culture? When I read Amos and Jeremiah, I say 'Would to God I were a Jew.' When I read the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I say 'Would I were a Galilean.' When I read the 13th of 1st Corinthians, I wish with all my heart that I might be a Christian after the manner of the Apostle Paul. When I think of Buddha and his Eightfold Path, I say, 'I, too, would be a Buddhist.' And when I remember the trial of Socrates, I say in awe but with exalted spirit, 'Oh that I might be so brave a humanist.' And thus at the end, there is nothing I can say but that, like Emerson and Channing, I want to live with the privilege of the illimitable mind.”
I have not had the experience of God/Christ being a saving grace in my life. But when I have most needed salvation, it has come in the form of a song, or a phone call, or a message written in my blog. (Thanks again, Rev. Christine.) It has come in a passage of a book. A poem. A package of diapers dropped off by one of my fellow congregants, because the congregation heard that we couldn’t use cloth dipes anymore, due to the chemo.
I realize that to some, this is not salvation. But it has been a deliverance for me. I have been pulled back from the brink. When my heart felt as though it were being ripped apart, these things provided the needle and thread to sew it back together. When my soul was tormented with questions for which I had no answer, my church – my religion -- provided the salve.
According to harvardsquarelibrary.org, Robert Ingersoll, nineteenth-century agnostic, said, "He who loves, worships.
By that definition, I worship. But to try and parse “who” I worship...
Well, that’s just missing the whole point.