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Acacia tree, sun low on horizon at Lake Natron

Intelligent Worship

The enlightened worlds all recognize and worship the Universal Father, the eternal maker and infinite upholder of all creation. ~ The Urantia Book, (1:0.3)

The Universal Father never imposes any form of arbitrary recognition, formal worship, or slavish service upon the intelligent will creatures of the universes. The evolutionary inhabitants of the worlds of time and space must of themselves—in their own hearts—recognize, love, and voluntarily worship him. The Creator refuses to coerce or compel the submission of the spiritual free wills of his material creatures. The affectionate dedication of the human will to the doing of the Father's will is man's choicest gift to God; in fact, such a consecration of creature will constitutes man's only possible gift of true value to the Paradise Father. In God, man lives, moves, and has his being; there is nothing which man can give to God except this choosing to abide by the Father's will, and such decisions, effected by the intelligent will creatures of the universes, constitute the reality of that true worship which is so satisfying to the love-dominated nature of the Creator Father. ~ The Urantia Book, (1:1.2)

When Jesus talked about "the living God," he referred to a personal Deity—the Father in heaven. The concept of the personality of Deity facilitates fellowship; it favors intelligent worship; it promotes refreshing trustfulness. ~ The Urantia Book, (1:7.1)

How unreasonable that you should not worship God because the limitations of human nature and the handicaps of your material creation make it impossible for you to see him. Between you and God there is a tremendous distance (physical space) to be traversed. There likewise exists a great gulf of spiritual differential which must be bridged; but notwithstanding all that physically and spiritually separates you from the Paradise personal presence of God, stop and ponder the solemn fact that God lives within you; he has in his own way already bridged the gulf. He has sent of himself, his spirit, to live in you and to toil with you as you pursue your eternal universe career. ~ The Urantia Book, (2:5.6)

True religious worship is not a futile monologue of self-deception. Worship is a personal communion with that which is divinely real, with that which is the very source of reality. Man aspires by worship to be better and thereby eventually attains the best. ~ The Urantia Book, (196:3.22)

We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him. ~ The Urantia Book, (16:9.10)

True Worship

Supplications of all kinds belong to the realm of the Eternal Son and the Son's spiritual organization. Prayers all formal communications, everything except adoration and worship of the Universal Father, are matters that concern a local universe; they do not ordinarily proceed out of the realm of the jurisdiction of a Creator Son. But worship is undoubtedly encircuited and dispatched to the person of the Creator by the function of the Father's personality circuit. We further believe that such registry of the homage of an Adjuster-indwelt creature is facilitated by the Father's spirit presence. There exists a tremendous amount of evidence to substantiate such a belief, and I know that all orders of Father fragments are empowered to register the bona fide adoration of their subjects acceptably in the presence of the Universal Father. The Adjusters undoubtedly also utilize direct prepersonal channels of communication with God, and they are likewise able to utilize the spirit-gravity circuits of the Eternal Son.

Worship is for its own sake; prayer embodies a self- or creature-interest element; that is the great difference between worship and prayer. There is absolutely no self-request or other element of personal interest in true worship; we simply worship God for what we comprehend him to be. Worship asks nothing and expects nothing for the worshiper. We do not worship the Father because of anything we may derive from such veneration; we render such devotion and engage in such worship as a natural and spontaneous reaction to the recognition of the Father's matchless personality and because of his lovable nature and adorable attributes.

The moment the element of self-interest intrudes upon worship, that instant devotion translates from worship to prayer and more appropriately should be directed to the person of the Eternal Son or the Creator Son. But in practical religious experience there exists no reason why prayer should not be addressed to God the Father as a part of true worship.

When you deal with the practical affairs of your daily life, you are in the hands of the spirit personalities having origin in the Third Source and Center; you are co-operating with the agencies of the Conjoint Actor. And so it is: You worship God; pray to, and commune with, the Son; and work out the details of your earthly sojourn in connection with the intelligences of the Infinite Spirit operating on your world and throughout your universe.

The Creator or Sovereign Sons who preside over the destinies of the local universes stand in the place of both the Universal Father and the Eternal Son of Paradise. These Universe Sons receive, in the name of the Father, the adoration of worship and give ear to the pleas of their petitioning subjects throughout their respective creations. To the children of a local universe a Michael Son is, to all practical intents and purposes, God. He is the local universe personification of the Universal Father and the Eternal Son. The Infinite Spirit maintains personal contact with the children of these realms through the Universe Spirits, the administrative and creative associates of the Paradise Creator Sons.

Sincere worship connotes the mobilization of all the powers of the human personality under the dominance of the evolving soul and subject to the divine directionization of the associated Thought Adjuster. The mind of material limitations can never become highly conscious of the real significance of true worship. Man's realization of the reality of the worship experience is chiefly determined by the developmental status of his evolving immortal soul. The spiritual growth of the soul takes place wholly independently of the intellectual self-consciousness.

The worship experience consists in the sublime attempt of the betrothed Adjuster to communicate to the divine Father the inexpressible longings and the unutterable aspirations of the human soul—the conjoint creation of the God-seeking mortal mind and the God-revealing immortal Adjuster. Worship is, therefore, the act of the material mind's assenting to the attempt of its spiritualizing self, under the guidance of the associated spirit, to communicate with God as a faith son of the Universal Father. The mortal mind consents to worship; the immortal soul craves and initiates worship; the divine Adjuster presence conducts such worship in behalf of the mortal mind and the evolving immortal soul. True worship, in the last analysis, becomes an experience realized on four cosmic levels: the intellectual, the morontial, the spiritual, and the personal—the consciousness of mind, soul, and spirit, and their unification in personality. ~ The Urantia Book, (5:3.2)

Religion and Worship

All religions teach the worship of Deity and some doctrine of human salvation. ~ The Urantia Book, (5:4.5)

The Greek religion had a watchword "Know yourself"; the Hebrews centered their teaching on "Know your God"; the Christians preach a gospel aimed at a "knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ"; Jesus proclaimed the good news of "knowing God, and yourself as a son of God." These differing concepts of the purpose of religion determine the individual's attitude in various life situations and foreshadow the depth of worship and the nature of his personal habits of prayer. The spiritual status of any religion may be determined by the nature of its prayers. ~ The Urantia Book, (5:4.8)

Moral conduct is always an antecedent of evolved religion and a part of even revealed religion, but never the whole of religious experience. Social service is the result of moral thinking and religious living. Morality does not biologically lead to the higher spiritual levels of religious experience. The adoration of the abstract beautiful is not the worship of God; neither is exaltation of nature nor the reverence of unity the worship of God. ~ The Urantia Book, (5:5.4)

The Personality Circuit

As all gravity is circuited in the Isle of Paradise, as all mind is circuited in the Conjoint Actor and all spirit in the Eternal Son, so is all personality circuited in the personal presence of the Universal Father, and this circuit unerringly transmits the worship of all personalities to the Original and Eternal Personality. ~ The Urantia Book, (5:6.11)

Worship - The Insight of the Cosmic Mind

Worship—the spiritual domain of the reality of religious experience, the personal realization of divine fellowship, the recognition of spirit values, the assurance of eternal survival, the ascent from the status of servants of God to the joy and liberty of the sons of God. This is the highest insight of the cosmic mind, the reverential and worshipful form of the cosmic discrimination.

These scientific, moral, and spiritual insights, these cosmic responses, are innate in the cosmic mind, which endows all will creatures. The experience of living never fails to develop these three cosmic intuitions; they are constitutive in the self-consciousness of reflective thinking. But it is sad to record that so few persons on Urantia take delight in cultivating these qualities of courageous and independent cosmic thinking. In the local universe mind bestowals, these three insights of the cosmic mind constitute the a priori assumptions which make it possible for man to function as a rational and self-conscious personality in the realms of science, philosophy, and religion. Stated otherwise, the recognition of the reality of these three manifestations of the Infinite is by a cosmic technique of self-revelation. Matter-energy is recognized by the mathematical logic of the senses; mind-reason intuitively knows its moral duty; spirit-faith (worship) is the religion of the reality of spiritual experience. These three basic factors in reflective thinking may be unified and co-ordinated in personality development, or they may become disproportionate and virtually unrelated in their respective functions. But when they become unified, they produce a strong character consisting in the correlation of a factual science, a moral philosophy, and a genuine religious experience. And it is these three cosmic intuitions that give objective validity, reality, to man's experience in and with things, meanings, and values. ~ The Urantia Book, (16:6.8)

Worship - The Passion of Paradise

Worship is the highest privilege and the first duty of all created intelligences. Worship is the conscious and joyous act of recognizing and acknowledging the truth and fact of the intimate and personal relationships of the Creators with their creatures. The quality of worship is determined by the depth of creature perception; and as the knowledge of the infinite character of the Gods progresses, the act of worship becomes increasingly all-encompassing until it eventually attains the glory of the highest experiential delight and the most exquisite pleasure known to created beings.

While the Isle of Paradise contains certain places of worship, it is more nearly one vast sanctuary of divine service. Worship is the first and dominant passion of all who climb to its blissful shores—the spontaneous ebullition of the beings who have learned enough of God to attain his presence. Circle by circle, during the inward journey through Havona, worship is a growing passion until on Paradise it becomes necessary to direct and otherwise control its expression.

The periodic, spontaneous, group, and other special outbursts of supreme adoration and spiritual praise enjoyed on Paradise are conducted under the leadership of a special corps of primary supernaphim. Under the direction of these conductors of worship, such homage achieves the creature goal of supreme pleasure and attains the heights of the perfection of sublime self-expression and personal enjoyment. All primary supernaphim crave to be conductors of worship; and all ascendant beings would enjoy forever remaining in the attitude of worship did not the chiefs of assignment periodically disperse these assemblages. But no ascendant being is ever required to enter upon the assignments of eternal service until he has attained full satisfaction in worship.

It is the task of the conductors of worship so to teach the ascendant creatures how to worship that they may be enabled to gain this satisfaction of self-expression and at the same time be able to give attention to the essential activities of the Paradise regime. Without improvement in the technique of worship it would require hundreds of years for the average mortal who reaches Paradise to give full and satisfactory expression to his emotions of intelligent appreciation and ascendant gratitude. The conductors of worship open up new and hitherto unknown avenues of expression so that these wonderful children of the womb of space and the travail of time are enabled to gain the full satisfactions of worship in much less time.

All the arts of all the beings of the entire universe which are capable of intensifying and exalting the abilities of self-expression and the conveyance of appreciation, are employed to their highest capacity in the worship of the Paradise Deities. Worship is the highest joy of Paradise existence; it is the refreshing play of Paradise. What play does for your jaded minds on earth, worship will do for your perfected souls on Paradise. The mode of worship on Paradise is utterly beyond mortal comprehension, but the spirit of it you can begin to appreciate even down here on Urantia, for the spirits of the Gods even now indwell you, hover over you, and inspire you to true worship.

There are appointed times and places for worship on Paradise, but these are not adequate to accommodate the ever-increasing overflow of the spiritual emotions of the growing intelligence and expanding divinity recognition of the brilliant beings of experiential ascension to the eternal Isle. Never since the times of Grandfanda have the supernaphim been able fully to accommodate the spirit of worship on Paradise. Always is there an excess of worshipfulness as gauged by the preparation therefor. And this is because personalities of inherent perfection never can fully appreciate the tremendous reactions of the spiritual emotions of beings who have slowly and laboriously made their way upward to Paradise glory from the depths of the spiritual darkness of the lower worlds of time and space. When such angels and mortals of time attain the presence of the Powers of Paradise, there occurs the expression of the accumulated emotions of the ages, a spectacle astounding to the angels of Paradise and productive of the supreme joy of divine satisfaction in the Paradise Deities.

Sometimes all Paradise becomes engulfed in a dominating tide of spiritual and worshipful expression. Often the conductors of worship cannot control such phenomena until the appearance of the threefold fluctuation of the light of the Deity abode, signifying that the divine heart of the Gods has been fully and completely satisfied by the sincere worship of the residents of Paradise, the perfect citizens of glory and the ascendant creatures of time. What a triumph of technique! What a fruition of the eternal plan and purpose of the Gods that the intelligent love of the creature child should give full satisfaction to the infinite love of the Creator Father! ~ The Urantia Book, (27:7.1)

The Spirit of Worship

The seven adjutant mind-spirits are called by names which are the equivalents of the following designations: intuition, understanding, courage, knowledge, counsel, worship, and wisdom. These mind-spirits send forth their influence into all the inhabited worlds as a differential urge, each seeking receptivity capacity for manifestation quite apart from the degree to which its fellows may find reception and opportunity for function. ~ The Urantia Book, (36:5.2)

The spirit of worship—the religious impulse, the first differential urge separating mind creatures into the two basic classes of mortal existence. The spirit of worship forever distinguishes the animal of its association from the soulless creatures of mind endowment. Worship is the badge of spiritual-ascension candidacy. ~ The Urantia Book, (36:5.11)

Primitive Worship

The ancients had a peculiar regard for holes in stones. Such porous rocks were supposed to be unusually efficacious in curing diseases. Ears were not perforated to carry stones, but the stones were put in to keep the ear holes open. Even in modern times superstitious persons make holes in coins. In Africa the natives make much ado over their fetish stones. In fact, among all backward tribes and peoples stones are still held in superstitious veneration. Stone worship is even now widespread over the world. The tombstone is a surviving symbol of images and idols which were carved in stone in connection with beliefs in ghosts and the spirits of departed fellow beings. ~ The Urantia Book, (85:1.4)

A Prayer

"With our hearts purged of all hate, let us worship the Eternal. Our God is the Lord of prayer; he hears the cry of his children. Let all men submit their wills to him, the Resolute. Let us delight in the liberality of the Lord of prayer. Make prayer your inmost friend and worship your soul's support. `If you will but worship me in love,' says the Eternal, `I will give you the wisdom to attain me, for my worship is the virtue common to all creatures.' God is the illuminator of the gloomy and the power of those who are faint. Since God is our strong friend, we have no more fear. We praise the name of the never-conquered Conqueror. We worship him because he is man's faithful and eternal helper. God is our sure leader and unfailing guide. He is the great parent of heaven and earth, possessed of unlimited energy and infinite wisdom. His splendor is sublime and his beauty divine. He is the supreme refuge of the universe and the changeless guardian of everlasting law. Our God is the Lord of life and the Comforter of all men; he is the lover of mankind and the helper of those who are distressed. He is our life giver and the Good Shepherd of the human flocks. God is our father, brother, and friend. And we long to know this God in our inner being. ~ The Urantia Book, (131:4.4)

Worship is Creative

Worship is intended to anticipate the better life ahead and then to reflect these new spiritual significances back onto the life which now is. Prayer is spiritually sustaining, but worship is divinely creative.

Worship is the technique of looking to the One for the inspiration of service to the many. Worship is the yardstick which measures the extent of the soul's detachment from the material universe and its simultaneous and secure attachment to the spiritual realities of all creation.

Prayer is self-reminding—sublime thinking; worship is self-forgetting—superthinking. Worship is effortless attention, true and ideal soul rest, a form of restful spiritual exertion.

Worship is the act of a part identifying itself with the Whole; the finite with the Infinite; the son with the Father; time in the act of striking step with eternity. Worship is the act of the son's personal communion with the divine Father, the assumption of refreshing, creative, fraternal, and romantic attitudes by the human soul-spirit. ~ The Urantia Book, (143:7.5)

Prayer and Worship

Prayer and its associated worship is a technique of detachment from the daily routine of life, from the monotonous grind of material existence. It is an avenue of approach to spiritualized self-realization and individuality of intellectual and religious attainment. ~ The Urantia Book, (144:4.5)

Prayer is the breath of the spirit life in the midst of the material civilization of the races of mankind. Worship is salvation for the pleasure-seeking generations of mortals. ~ The Urantia Book, (144:4.7)

Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship. We worship God by the aid of the Father's indwelling spirit and by the illumination of the human mind through the ministry of truth. Worship, taught Jesus, makes one increasingly like the being who is worshiped. Worship is a transforming experience whereby the finite gradually approaches and ultimately attains the presence of the Infinite. ~ The Urantia Book, (146:2.17)

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