One of the most common ways to define or describe what the word worship means among Unitarian Universalist ministers is to trace the development of the word from the 12th century Anglo-Saxon roots.  For example:

The verb worship means to shape worth.  The meanings of worth suggest the purpose of worshipping: to come to be equal to, or to turn toward, the highest or best values.  To worship is to give useful, instructive shape to those often abstract values, to symbolize or articulate them in memorable and helpful ways.  We create, and we cut back, the words and symbols we use in worship according to their usefulness.  They are never fixed, but do endure as long as they serve the purpose of showing us the good we strive toward (or of binding a worshipping community together).

~Rev. Paul R. Beedle, UU Minister, Stafford, TX

 

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