LitBit Commentary – James K A Smith on Worship 3

LitBits Logo - 2LitBit: There is a sense in which Christians are trained by the liturgy to be a people “untimely born,” as Paul says of himself (1 Cor. 15:8). This is not because we are traditionalists who slavishly and nostalgically long for the old ways (Jer. 6:16). However, there is a deep sense in which the church is a people called to resist the presentism embedded in the tyranny of the contemporary. We are called to be a people of memory, who are shaped by a tradition that is millennia older than the last Billboard chart. And we are also called to be a people of expectation, praying for and looking forward to a coming kingdom that will break in upon our present as a thief in the night. We are a stretched people, citizens of a kingdom that is both older and newer than anything offered by “the contemporary.” The practices of Christian worship over the liturgical year form in us something of an “old soul” that is perpetually pointed to a future, longing for a coming kingdom, and seeking to be such a stretched people in the present who are a foretaste of the coming kingdom.

James K A Smith, Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (p. 159).


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