This week we’re discussing the rest of chapter 4 of Desiring the Kingdom in which Smith seems to hedge his bets, backpedal a bit, and gear up for the chapter he’s been telling us to wait for all along.
Summary: Not all liturgies are equally weighty
Smith backpedals a bit – and rightly so – on the sacramental view of nature. Yes, we can experience God’s presence and blessing when we pay attention to the moment in our everyday lives (Holy is the Day is a beautifully written example of this, and it is a large point of Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts). But life is only sacramental, not a sacrament, just as life is worship, but not in the same way that the weekly corporate worship service is worship.
The point I appreciated most about this section was that although worship is formative, we do not do it because it is formative. We worship to glorify and serve our Creator, and worship is all about Him and not about us. Formation is a side benefit, not the primary point.
formation is an overflow effect of our encounter with the Redeemer in praise and prayer, adoration and communion.
And, just as there is no such thing as secular education, Smith makes it clear there is no such thing as a non-liturgical worship service. A liturgy is made of practices, and worship is made of practices, even if they aren’t written down in an order of service.
That is two positive points for Smith in this section, and I could have even pulled out a couple others, such as the reformer’s important emphasis on the call-and-response (with God initiating and people responding) order of worship and the fact that what practices are found or not found in your church matter deeply.
But it’s past my bedtime now, so I’m going to get this post wrapped up and wait to see if anyone else found something good to say about this week’s section.
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: Chapter 5, pages 155-166, from the beginning through the section on “Call to Worship” (stop before “God’s Greeting”)