Saturday, June 16, 2007

Worship

Kathryn, at Good in Parts, has a very important post on the subject of worship, which I'd encourage you to click over and read.

As her conclusion, she has found another wonderful Evelyn Underhill quote, this time from Worship (1936):

"At one end worship is lost in God and is seen to be the substance of eternal life, so that all our attempts to penetrate its mystery must end in acknowledgement of defeat; at the other it broadens out to cover and inform the whole of man's responses to reality, his total Godward life, with its myriad graded forms of expression, some so crude and some so lovely, some so concrete and some so otherworldly but all so pathetic in their childishness. Here we obtain a clue to the real significance of those rituals and ceremonies... which express the deep human conviction that none of the serial events and experiences of human life are rightly met unless they are brought into a relationship with the Transcendent."

Astonishing, isn't it, how a discussion of what for so many people is confined to the area of music in church, or liturgics, actually "broadens out to cover and inform the whole of man's responses to reality..." and so brings us into reach of Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God, and of the Prayer of the Heart, the practice of the Jesus Prayer as unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5.17) where the prayer, coming over time to be prayed without conscious volition, forms the means by which all "the serial events and experiences of human life are... brought into a relationship with the Transcendent."

Worship is so much more than is dreamed of my most of our philosophies, which may be why our Lord said that our worship must be "in spirit and in truth," as opposed to what we know, intellectually, or, superstitiously, what we don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, thank you for posting this. In so many ways this quote speaks into the heart of what it means to live a life in full attention to God. It is the realm where the dichotomies of sacred and secular are shattered, the place where union with God is realized in each moment. This was a helpful quote, thank you.

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