A person will worship something – have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts – but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Worship is an ambiguous and loaded word. What does it mean to worship in a humanist, agnostic, liberal tradition? The saying goes that when Unitarians and Universalists pray, we address ourselves in our uncertainty  – To Whom It May Concern. So whom or what would we worship? Probably many different things. But perhaps with a shared reverence and gratitude. So we still use the word worship as an indication of our wonder and awe and our recognition of the worth of the world around us, the life we share, and the beauty and mystery of being. For that is what piques our curiosity, inspires our imagination, warms our spirits, shapes our character, and contributes to our belonging and becoming. To worship is to celebrate life, in all its peculiarities.

According to one source:
We practice a style of religious living and worshipping which encourages people to discover themselves. It is a style which is concerned for the integrity of the relationships which we have with others, with our environment and with the universe. The moral climate of our Community might be described as ‘reverence for life,’ and its worshiping atmosphere as ‘celebration of life.’

The emphasis is on personal authority and responsibility. We admire and strive to emulate the lives of those who show us how to be true to our best selves, such as Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, Schweitzer, and many others. But the relevance of the life and teachings of such individuals is a matter of personal decision. We are under no external pressure from creed, doctrine, dogma, scripture, or church. We do form covenants as guidelines, agreeing to hold ourselves and each other accountable according to those guidelines.

We accept that religion is open to change and development in the light of new thought and discovery. We recognize that people use words in different ways, so that language which is helpful to one person is limiting to another. What unites us, whatever our personal religion, is a common concern for the quality of life which we revere, celebration in our communal gatherings, and a holy and spiritual curiosity.


– Adapted from ‘Who We Are,’ St. Mark’s Unitarian Church, Edinburgh, Scotland [link to http://edinburgh-unitarians.squarespace.com/projects/]

So we invite you to come as you are, to join with us, to worship with us, and to celebrate with us.