This past Saturday, I co-facilitated a retreat with our Coming of Age youth and their mentors. On top of being great fun, it offered me an opportunity to witness to the wisdom, energy, and inspiration generated when Unitarian Universalist young people and adults work and play together.
As the members of the COA program will be leading the worship service on June 3rd, we spent some time on the meaning and planning of worship. Worship comes from the same root as the word, “worthy” and it means to lift up or celebrate what is of worth to us. In most religions, this means to lift up, celebrate, and honor God. Our faith, with its non-creedal tradition, is a little more diverse in what we lift up, name, celebrate, and honor as worthy of our loyalty, our praise, our commitment. It can be God, and is for some of us. But it is so much more and many different things: the wonder and beauty of nature; the celebration of life itself; the gifts of the human spirit; the practices of gratitude and hospitality; the challenge of bringing healing and justice to a hurting world; the seasons and cycles of our own lives and rites of passages; the facing together as a community of faith the moments of great joy or great sorrow, great celebration or great loss.
So, as we enter this holy week, holy for many of us because of our Jewish or Christian connections, or holy because of the season and its signs of rebirth and renewal, family, friends or even we may ask ourselves, what are we worshiping this week? We are lifting up, naming, and honoring the sacred stories of liberation (Passover), rebirth (the pagan Easter), and resurrection (the Christian Easter): that which brings life to life. In all three stories, life in some way appears to be over: through slavery and captivity; through the cold and darkness of winter; through death and utter hopelessness. And yet, the Spirit of Life bursts through to free a people, to bloom the earth, to bring Love to overcome death and despair.
Have a Holy Week. May it be worshipful for you, full of moments of hope, courage, meaning, and grace. In the words of William Blake may you: “…see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”