Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens

40 Days: Worship

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This is Day 2 of a series of posts devoted to exploring 47 topics related to the mind, body, and spirituality.  The topics come from suggestions of the Unitarian Universalist Church.  They started as an inspiration for Lent, but as a Pagan I see them as a disciplined way explore my relationship with the world.

I’ve never been a big fan of worship.  The word immediately bring to my mind pictures of oppressed masses kneeling slavishly before their master.  I tend to think less about honoring the Divine, and more about the Thuggee cult from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:

I realize that’s not an accurate depiction of most worship in the world, but it’s what comes to my head.  Still, even when I used to attend church, I never thought of it as “worship.”  I thought of it as “singing stuff they way I’m told on the right day of the week to be sure I go to heaven.”

To me, Worship is when you laud such great power and energy onto something, that even if you don’t think of it as a deity, it becomes one.  People worship more than gods under this definition.  They worship money, possessions, food, alcohol, science, television, Facebook, iPhones, and much more.  Ancient cultures often deified the most important aspects of life: the Earth, the Sky, the Sun, Love, Death, War, Wisdom.  If we did that today, the most powerful god in our cultural pantheon might be Verizon, god of the smartphone.

These are all choices we make.  I believe our conscious, sincere, consensual choices show what we really worship, despite what our stated religion might be. You must be doing it of your own free will.  If you’re attending church because you fear hell or expect heaven, I don’t call that worship.  I call that coercion.  If you’re performing a full moon ritual because “that’s just what we do,” that’s not worship.  That’s programming.  If you’re choosing to stay late at work and miss your daughter’s dance recital – that’s worshiping your job.

The most beautiful statement of worship I’ve seen comes from the Charge of the Goddess:

“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

It is deceptively simple and wonderfully profound that, if there is a creator deity, that deity would want its creations to experience and enjoy all aspects of her/his universe and live an honorable, balanced life.  I believe that any time you do these things, no matter what path you follow, you are engaging in worship.  And it’s a lot better than this:


Author: Tim

I am a teacher, a theater lover, and a High Priest in the Temple of Witchcraft. I love to point out the places where the everyday world, arts, science, and religion intersect. I stand for interfaith cooperation and the belief that people of all religions, political beliefs, and nationalities have more in common with each other than differences.

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