Christian Worship as Formative Liturgy

The Rev. Nick Smith has a great review of James K.A. Smith’s volume Desiring the Kingdom over at his blog (Desiring the Kingdom: A Review Essay | Sylvan Manor) and makes a helpful observation about Lord’s Day worship as being formative for the Christian:

Desiring the Kingdom on the Lord’s Day

To illustrate this, Smith walks through the elements of historic Christian worship, explaining them as formative liturgies – not simply downloading information into our heads, but shaping and forming our loves, loyalties, and desires. The cultural practice of gathering together on the Lord’s Day for worship forms us in all sorts of deeply important ways. It gives us a new orientation to history – anchored to the resurrection, looking forward to the return of Christ. It gives us a new orientation to those around us – bound to our brothers and sisters as the body of Christ, citizens of heaven in a way that is prior to our earthly citizenship.

One of Smith’s great insights is that this is not primarily an individual reality but a corporate reality. Traditional worldview language is susceptible to a radical individualism that Smith wants to avoid. Our worldview is a shared thing, embedded and propagated by shared cultural practices. I am not just a thinking individual; we desire, we are loyal, we love.

 

© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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