Desiring the Kingdom Book Club, week 12: Antiphonal Living

posted in: philosophical | 3

Desiring the Kingdom Book Club

This week in Desiring the Kingdom, we enter the worship service proper with the call to worship and the response of singing. Worship is beautiful, is it not? I look forward to thinking more and more how these aspects of weekly worship affect and can shape the rest of our days and our whole lives.

Summary: Call and Response

Worship is antiphonal. God is the One summoning us, the One acting first. Worship of the triune God is relational and personal, not merely an obeisance to a remote and indifferent god. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, called to come and respond to our God, who saved us with a mighty hand.

Insofar as God calls us and welcomes us back into this relationship in Christian worship, what’s going on in worship has relevance not just for my religious or spiritual life but also for my human life. God’s greeting and welcome speaks to our fundamental dependence.

In life, God speaks and things happen, including us. This is the foundational reality.

So, I wish Smith had tied his statement about things “getting done” in worship: the reason things get done in worship apart from our cognitive understanding is because God Himself is the primary mover and actor.

The way worship is structured orients us to the rest of life, whether we are aware of it or not – though, I think, to the degree that we are aware of it, we can self-consciously match our workaday lives to fit the pattern of heaven-minded living given to us in worship.

So, we can bring this pattern into our lives and remember that it is not us acting of our own autonomy, bringing our day and our works before the Lord in offering, obeying and earning his good pleasure thereby. No, it is Him calling us and us living out of that fact – the already accomplished obedience of Christ, in Whom we are – that we then obey in harmony with and out of thankfulness for the truth that already is.

God acts first, then we respond. We are not trying to garner his attention or favor. He freely bestows it and then and therefore we respond in joy.

That is where true rest and true trust is found.


I am assuming that most other posters will take on the singing section, and I am already past my bedtime on Tuesday night as I write this, so I will leave the music section to the others. Some of the quotes from this section, however, will most likely find their way into future postings about our Circle Time content.

One application thought I had while reading this section is that I would like to more intentionally structure our Circle Time next year with an antiphonal pattern, particularly adding in a greeting & call (though not a call to join the heavenly host for Lord’s Day corporate worship, of course, but still a call to focus and respond) and also a benediction.

Further Book Club Conversation

Visit these other participants’ posts and keep the conversation going in the comment sections! You don’t have to have a blog to participate. Please jump on in.


Next week: Law, Confession, and Pardon

3 Responses

  1. Jen
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    I don’t see the linky to add my post to, so I am putting it here: http://snowfallacademy.blogspot.com/2014/03/dtk-chapter-5-part-2-power-of-music.html
    You’re right, I did comment on the music part of it. :)

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Oops! I didn’t save the last edit, I guess. :) I added the linkup code and added your link to it. Thanks, Jen!

  2. Lisa
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    I linked a post that was written before I’d read DTK, but I thought it was appropriate here since this is the section in which he discusses music. I especially had in mind the part in which he talks about music coming back to haunt us long after we may have thought we’d forgotten it.