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Magic Is Afoot

A group of dancers, lit from above, blurred by being caught in motion.

The word liturgy is a fancy word meaning the formulation of a religious service. Its etymology tells us that it means “the work of the people.”

In many Unitarian Universalist contexts, the verb worship is intransitive. We do not worship something or someone. We claim the act of worship as raising up that which is worthy.

There is magic afoot. And reason. Ritual and intellectual rigor. Compassion. Mutual care. Delight. Skepticism. Deep comfort. Disappointment. Tears and laughter. Challenge. It’s all there. It’s our Sunday service.

Don’t look too closely, though. Behind the curtain, you might notice a dropped line. A skipped element: on purpose, or accidentally! A missed cue. One part going long; another going shorter than anticipated. Someone not quite on their game. A baton passed and dropped.

For all to see.

But, then again, do look closely. See teamwork at play. Adjustments made with a simple word or gesture. A deft drop and even defter catch. A kind reminder. A gentle laughing at oneself. A collective forbearance, an assumed forgiveness, a truly-it-did-not-matter. Sparks of synergy. Moment of grace. Moments of grace.

This, they see, too. This, they experience: hearts expanded.

Magic is afoot: bundled in the work of the people raising up that which is worthy.

About the Author

Karen G. Johnston

Karen G. Johnston is the settled minister at The Unitarian Society in East Brunswick, NJ. Before becoming a minister, she spent 20+ years as a clinical social worker....

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.