LitBit Commentary – James K A Smith on Worship 2

LitBits Logo - 2

LitBit: One of the things that should strike us about Christian worship is how earthy, material, and mundane it is. To engage in worship requires a body—with lungs to sing, knees to kneel, legs to stand, arms to raise, eyes to weep, noses to smell, tongues to taste, ears to hear, hands to hold and raise. Christian worship is not the sort of thing disembodied spirits could engage in…The rhythms and rituals of Christian worship invoke and feed off of our embodiment and traffic in the stuff of a material world: water, bread, and wine, each of which point us to their earthy emergence: the curvature of the riverbed, the shimmering fields that give forth grain, the grapes that hint of a unique terroir. It does not take much imagination for these in turn to evoke an entire environment: The gurgling water in the riverbed calls to mind the reeds and pussy willows along its edge, muskrats slinking quietly from the edge under the water’s surface, as the water wends its way to twist the crank of a gristmill or a hydroelectric turbine, both providing sustenance for a civilization of culture. The bread evokes images of Kansas wheat fields or of parched African expanses that have failed to yield grain for years. The bread has not made it to this table without much labor, without hands (and machines) harvesting, sometimes toiling and despoiling in the process. The wine in the cup has its own rich history of grapes drooping on the ground, rescued from rot by caring hands of husbandry, perhaps also just escaping an early frost that threatened their ripe skins. So right here in Christian worship we have a sort of microcosm of creation—the “world in a wafer.”

James K. A Smith, Desiring the Kingdom


How to use LitBit Features and Commentaries.