wor·ship [wur-ship] noun, verb, -shiped, -ship·ing or ( especially British ) -shipped, -ship·ping.
1. reverent honor and homage paid to god or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
2. formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage: They attended worship this morning.
3. adoring reverence or regard: excessive worship of business success.
4. the object of adoring reverence or regard.
5. ( initial capital letter ) British . a title of honor used in addressing or mentioning certain magistrates and others of high rank or station (usually prec. by Your, His, or Her ).
–verb (used with object)
6. to render religious reverence and homage to.
7. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).
–verb (used without object)
8. to render religious reverence and homage, as to a deity.
9. to attend services of divine worship.
10. to feel an adoring reverence or regard.
3. honor, homage, adoration, idolatry. 7. honor, venerate, revere, adore, glorify, idolize, adulate.
What, I wonder, is with the hesitation to use "worship?" Is it another of those words/actions/beliefs that is so tied in with Christianity that many Pagans just prefer to use words without those connotations? (Rather like the Pagans who dismiss the male side of Deity and honor only the Goddess aspects?)
What is the difference between respecting and honoring and worshipping a god? I worship the God and Goddess (increasingly with the faces and names of Cernunnos and Danu). I believe they, and the driving power of the world which is inherent within them, are worthy of the active praise and honoring that comes with the idea of worship. Other gods, lesser gods (not that they are, in truth, lesser, but they are less important to me and my life) I respect and honor. Respect and honor just don't seem to carry with them the same... I don't know, active participation, as worship.
I respect that these other gods are about, are worshipped by other people, and honor what they teach and/or do for the world. But am I lighting candles for them? Am I calling them to my rituals? Do I say prayers to them? No. Do I worship them? No.
But for the gods who I ask into my life, to guide me and to protect me, these are the gods I worship. I ask them to participate actively in my life, and in return, I am active in honoring them and showing my respect for them.
And now that I've said the same thing about five different ways, I'd like to know why other witches/Pagans are often hesitant to use the term worship to describe their relationship to the gods they've chosen to invite into their lives. Do you have the same proscription against the use of the word worship? Warum? Why? Or do you, like me, feel that the term is entirely appropriate?