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Why worship?


This topic was originally posted in this forum: Spirituality
Author Topic: Why worship?
Yammer
Moderator posted 06-20-2001 03:29 PM
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Usual disclaimer: I'm agnostic, but interested in spiritual matters.
For those of you who practice religious beliefs, I pose a question: why do you worship your deity/deities?

Out of respect? In gratitude? Prophylatically (i.e. to keep the deity from being angry with you)? Cultural heritage?

I'm asking because I sort of understand why a person might think that there is a supreme being or beings out there, but I'm not clear if that automatically generates an internal need to worship, or if worship arises from an external commandment.




megerina
Member posted 06-20-2001 03:38 PM
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Yammer,
I am a witch and I worship the ground you walk on, but mostly my worship, if you must put it that way, is a celebration of the magic of life, the seasons, and the circles withint circles we all live in. Be thinking of you all tomorrow morning when my best friend in town, midwife and I climb up to our spot out of spring canyon to watch the sun rise and celebrate the beginning of summer.

meg



madison
Member posted 06-20-2001 05:35 PM
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And my meditation/prayer is a way of grounding me, settling me, reminding me that whatever happens today will be handled as well as it can be. It is a moment to feel thankful for all the good things in my life and to feel connected to all other people and life, including the Source of Life. Gee, is that new agey enough sounding for ya?


Chanley
Moderator posted 06-20-2001 05:47 PM
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I pray because I am learning and grateful for my lessons. I really adore my spirituality and find great comfort in being still with all of the beauty that fills my life.
as far as church. hmm there is the big one.
we intend to go to mass when Aria is older because I want to have her in a community of people who are somewhat religious. If I lived in a bigger city I would not bother. But this is a very small town and it is VERY important to me that she be around people I can trust to be pretty conservative with their religious views. Plus I know a TON of the families in the local parish.

But i still have issues with the whole sin thing. I dont believe that we are innately bad and we are sinners. I think we have lessons to learn and our mistakes are our opportunity to learn them. I am VERY happy to have made all of my "sins".

anyway, I find direction and peace in worship.



mollysmom02718
unregistered posted 06-20-2001 06:00 PM
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I don't do any formal worship such as church. I don't belong to a particular religion. I do pray and meditate as I think it helps keep me centered. It also helps me to keep things in perspective and reminds that there is something bigger than me and my petty problems.


happymama
Member posted 06-20-2001 06:00 PM
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Because of what Mergerina and Madison have already said.
I find that connecting with the energies of Life, Earth, (Scary but yes, Death) I feel a purpose to all the crazyness, and a more profound and intensified joy in the things I value. I worship The Great Mother, and in my devotions to Her and meditations I find that all that I experience personally is more clear and "right." i.e. the emotions and sense that races through me when I watch a storm coming, gusting winds which bellow through the leaves. This storm is not scary - it is powerful and through my worship I can experience an awe I'd not find otherwise. (We were having thinder earlier so this is fresh in my mind. There are other more mundane examples as well.) When someone cuts me off, I am better able to just let it happen without condemning, knowing that that person really needed that at the time. It doesn't always keep me from getting downright pissed off at the moment but there is hope for a recovery a few moments later.
I'm sort of rambling because it is late, my brain is fried and I am dying to get to my husband who is patiently waiting for me to get off the computer. I'll write more later. This is a really great post, Yammer.



lilyka
Member posted 06-20-2001 06:30 PM
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Wow, that is a goog question.
I give Him thanks because his blood has covered my sins and his death has paid for my eternal life.
I love Him because his love and grace and mercy are suffecient for me
I honor Him because He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. And I can't even begin to understand his ways.
I come to Him because he finds pleasure being in the presence of his children and his children find pleasure in His presence.
The way I worship (through prayer,music and dance) helps me connect with Him and enter into His presence in a real way.
I bow down befor Him because he is the King of Kings.
I dance and shout because he fills me with joy.
I worship him because he wants me to.

Will God be angry if I cease to worship? No, but I think he would be sad.
Do I worship fpr protection or favor? No, but worship benifits me because it brings me into a deeper relationship with Christ.




papatimes3
Member posted 06-20-2001 08:41 PM
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lilyka,
Well said,sister!
As I read Yammer's question and the replies, I began to form my own answer. You pretty much covered all the bases! All I might care to add is that God wants us to worship Him together, as one body comprised of many parts, so that we may build up one another in faith and ultimately glorify Him.
Yammer, I am so glad to see such an eager,seeking spirit emerge here. I am willing to share what I can about my faith, and pray that I may do so in a way that gives honor and glory to my Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank you for asking.


yogamama
Moderator posted 06-20-2001 09:48 PM
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Yammer - great question!
I actually have a hard time with the "worship" thing. I don't really understand why the God/Source of Divine Love that I understand wants or needs to be worshipped.

I'm a struggling Christian (practicing Catholic who picks and chooses what she likes from many faith traditions) and a close friend of mine who is very devout Christian explained that she worships Christ because he is so amazing that she can't help but be moved to worship Him.

Wow - I acutally kind of WISH I felt that way. That must be pretty cool that awe.

I "worship" in a church to be part of a larger community and to celebrate our common rituals. As a Catholic I feel strongly about the power of ritual.

In my private prayer and meditation my point (do I have a goal??) is to open myself to the Divine power of the Universe within myself and outside of myself. To get grounded, to empty my head and open my heart, to feel whatever comes up, to practice compassion, to be quiet, to let wisdom emerge.

Maybe say a selfish little prayer of grasping. Maybe "thank" God for my blessings. But worship? As in "God - you are so great and wonderful"? I'm not really there on my spiritual path. We actually do say a blessing before dinner each night and it usually is a prayer of thanks and special intentions. I guess that is a sort of worship. But not like "Praise God"!

One last thought: to me WORSHIP implies that God is outside of us and that we are apart FROM God. I guess at this point I see myself as apart OF God and the idea of worship seems kind of weird.

I heard Ram Das explain that to thank one hand for removing a thorn from the other hand places a distance between two parts of the same body and causes a relationship of duality. So, it is with God. If I am PART of the body of God (let's say I am the little toe on the left foot), then isn't it weird for me to worship the nose or an ear or the liver? Or would I (the toe) worship the WHOLE of the body? Maybe I can understand that... Does anybody else know what I'm saying?

It's late. I'm goin' to bed.
Kathleen



Ann
Member posted 06-21-2001 03:58 AM
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I agree with a lot of what Kathleen said.
Also:

I pray for hope, to open myself to God's love and to allow myself to give up some control. I pray to put my life into perpesctive, to give thanks because I tend concentrate on all the wrong things and praying helps me put things in order.

Singing hymns is my form of "worship". It feels good to feel the love of God...that's why I pray and sing...it's good for me.



Yammer
Moderator posted 06-21-2001 07:39 AM
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Ann,
I agree that singing hymns is spiritual, perhaps even transformative. I'm no Christian, but as a musician, I cannot deny the evocative, mesmerizing, and thrilling power of certain Christian anthems -- simple odes like Nearer My God To Thee and O Holy Night ("fall on your knees"....OK) are much more persuasive and, it seems to me, closer to the point than the tiresome admonitions and hick-like carney blather of preachers. Then it's January and I go back to being a doubter again...still....



taverner
Member posted 06-21-2001 08:53 AM
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Megerina and Madison have pretty much said it in a nutshell where I'm concerned.
I don't think we "worship" per se, our rituals are more focused on connection and interaction with divinity and spirit. To me, it's the difference between waving at someone from afar, or actually going up and talking to them. In honouring the Gods and Goddesses, we are also honouring that part of us which is a reflection of them.

The seasonal rituals, Sabbats, also strengthens our connection with the natural world and helps us to understand the changes that happen within ourselves as the world changes around us. These are not just mental exercises, but religious rituals as divinity is seen as being part of everything and everyone, like the glue that holds everything together.

BB,

Taverner




jaylind
Member posted 06-21-2001 09:11 AM
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Having grown up in a pretty *devout* Lutheran family and then becoming agnostic myself, I think I have realized why my family members go to church.
It's almost 100% for the fellowship. Some previous posters already mentioned the idea of community but from what I have seen with my family members, for most of them anyway, it's even less than that. They go to visit.

My family is primarily a bunch of farmers. They attend church with other local farmers. GENERALLY, the men stand around and talk about farming and the women compare their children and trade recipies.

Of course, there is a greater community going on as well...but my family in particular is not terribly involved in those things. They are "Sunday Christians" in that that's the only time they are involved with that community.

To me, it's bizarre...but I went to college and DH and I are not farmers. We both have jobs away from home so we have another outlet. On the weekends, we relish being home and being a family instead of looking for a time to get away and visit with others. We do our visiting during the week.

Back to your question...why worship? I don't see my family members as worshippers...it's almost as if worship is the price they pay to talk to some other adults once a week....

JMHO

jaylind



mom2godzillas
Member posted 06-21-2001 09:26 AM
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Yup, lilyka said most of it. I would add that a little time to pray and read my Bible in the am, meditate on the awesome responsibility God has given me in my children, makes me a better mom!! The awesome praise music at my church makes me feel the presence of God *RIGHT THERE*, it is a wonderful experience.


madison
Member posted 06-21-2001 09:59 AM
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I used to be a worship leader in one of the ministries I was involved in as a more traditional Christian many years ago...the music/singing/worship served to almost bring me to an altered state of conciousness, where the "still, small voice of God (Goddess/Spirit/Force/whatever)" could be heard. The music & singing served to allow me to focus on finding that "reality" that a typical day's worries and rushing about shouts down.
Kind of like chanting mantras is to a monk or prayer beads are to a Buddhist etc, so singing "worship" songs are to me. They are a means to an end. I don't think the god I worship really needs me to sing his/her praises, but I think *I* need to sing in order to get into a mental/spiritual 'place' where we can be together. The words are almost unimportant. It's your intentions that matter.



happymama
Member posted 06-21-2001 11:03 AM
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I was thinking about this question some more while I was going about my business....Madison has pretty much said what I was going to write.
I think it is more we need to worship rather that the Creative Spirit, the Deity, etc. needs us to worship Her/Him. I do feel though that the connectedness we feel when we worship brings greater connectedness to us all and therefore gives greater energy to Life as our spirits become one. This is soooo difficult for me to put into words.



veganmom
Member posted 06-21-2001 12:29 PM
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Do you mean why give thanks and praise to God or do you mean why go to church?
I go to church for fellowship, support, and to learn and grow from what other people have to say.

I give thanks and praise to God because I am so thankful for the abundance of blessings God has bestowed upon me. I worship out of love, gratitude, and thanksgiving. It's kind of like asking why did you do something nice for your wife on her birthday? Because you love her, you want to show how happy you are that she is in your life, and you want an opportunity to deepen your relationship with her. That's how I approach worship.



DebraBaker
Member posted 06-22-2001 04:16 AM
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Worship is singing a love song to G-d.
Debra Baker



yogamama
Moderator posted 06-22-2001 08:53 AM
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Yes, sound is powerful. Song, mantra & hymns are the way that I most fully experience Divine love and connection.


Jaya
Member posted 06-23-2001 05:34 PM
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I am a little late responding to this thread...but in my religion (from India) we actually worship a deity form of the Lord. This form is not meant to represent God, but it IS actually God. This is a hard concept for most westerners to understand!
It's done out of love, or in order to develop love, for God, or even more specifically, the deity that is being worshipped, since they (He and His form) are non-different.

Theres my 2 cents, if it makes sense to you!





papatimes3
Member posted 06-27-2001 11:11 PM
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Yogamama,
If you're still following this thread, some thoughts occurred to me about your post.
You talked about ritual, and as an ex-Catholic I can relate to all of that. However, as I uunderstand it, Christianity is not about ritual but relationship.
If you love someone, or you're grateful to them, it stands to reason that you'll find a way to tell or show them, and that will build the relationship to where there is more to tell and share, etc.
That is how I view it, and how I interpret the Bible. I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, to whom I owe more than I could ever repay. Sometimes I'm angry at God; sometimes confused by Him; but I love Him, and I know that He loves me.
So worship can take many forms: prayer, musical praise, meditation on His glory, doing an unpleasant task with a cheerful heart, serving one's family, or especially helping those in need of mercy and compassion.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."-1 Corinthians 10:31
When I mentioned worship as a body earlier, I meant that all Christians everywhere are considered as one body:each interconnected,each valuable, and each necessary. Sorry if I confused anybody! 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 sets this principle out nicely, and Jesus uses a wonderful grapevine metaphor in John 15.
Read all about it!
late
tired
'bye



moondancer
Member posted 06-28-2001 07:39 PM
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I worship because I love. I love because He first loved me.


boobybooby
Member posted 06-28-2001 10:54 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Yammer:
I'm asking because I sort of understand why a person might think that there is a supreme being or beings out there, but I'm not clear if that automatically generates an internal need to worship, or if worship arises from an external commandment.
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I worship because I love, as moondancer said.
I also worship because indeed for me there is an automatic internal need to worship. Having a relationship with Christ and beleiving in him gives me a thirst and hunger for his word and to share in bible study with other Christians. Because his words are written within me, I recognize them when I read. That sense of connectedness is very affirming and comforting, causing me to worship him within my mind even deeper. In reading his word and prayer or dialogue is mostly how I worship outwardly (meaning the physical action that could be seen of me worshipping him).

I don't make it to church as often as I would like to (I wont insert any lame excuses here because I just cant stoop that low!)... but I still worship God in every moment of my being.

Just thinking about mass gives me a desire to be there right now because it is so uplifting and awesome. I need to come back to this post on Sunday morning, it will motivate me for sure.
Anyway, I know that God sees how greatly I love him so although I want to eventually be more active in my parish, I don't fear external commandment for not always being there that other believers may.




yogamama
Moderator posted 06-29-2001 11:08 AM
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papatimes3 - thanks for those ideas; it makes sense to me what you have written.
I agree that we are all One Body and One in God. I'm still not sure that we all need to be One in Christ's Body. I am a Christian grappling with the mystery of Christ as the Divine manifestation of God on earth. Hmmmm - I'm still working on letting that in.

At this point in my relationship with God I don't really feel called to PRAISE God, but rather we are still getting to know each other. Well, I am still getting to know God - I trust that God knows me much better than I know myself.

So, I worship (sort of) but it doesn't feel quite feel genuine yet.

Still searching and praying (at age 32, with 12 years of Catholic education and alot of personal growth behind and ahead of me).
Kathleen

[This message has been edited by yogamama (edited 06-29-2001).]



papatimes3
Member posted 07-02-2001 08:36 PM
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Yogamama,
Larger brains than ours have spent LOTS of time on the mystery of the Incarnation; it's very deep water,indeed.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.-Isaiah 55:8

Do you have a Bible? Do you read it often? It may sound too easy (or too hard!) but there's no better way I know of to get to know Him than to get into His Word.
Start simply; find a current translation you are comfortable reading and get to know Him. I spend most of my time lately in the Psalms and the Gospels; I would recommend the Gospel of John first for a seeker like yourself, and the Psalms are wonderful poems, hymns, and prayers to God that you can really make your own.
I have found that the Catholic Church did not do a lot to encourage my own spiritual growth, especially with regard to reading the Bible and establishing my own personal relationship with God; I had to walk away for a decade and come back to Christianity with a fresh and authentic NEED for God in my life.
"Seek, and you will find."-Luke 11:9



yogamama
Moderator posted 07-03-2001 02:26 PM
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papatimes3 - thanks for your thoughts. Maybe I will crack that Bible again sometimes soon...
Kathleen

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