Friday, December 21, 2007

Liturgical Theology 2

In chapter two of Simon Chan's Liturgical Theology, he takes up the question of worship. Building on his argument in chapter one that the church has an ontology; that it is in fact the body of Christ, he argues that it is in public, corporate worship that the Church realizes or manifests this reality.

If the Church is the people of God who are united with Christ by the Holy Spirit, that it might be lovingly offered to the Father as Christ offers himself to the Father, then worship is the central and defining activity of the Church. To get this, one has to realize that God is not the so much the object of worship as he is the subject of worship. Worship should not be pictured as God statically sitting back while he receives our worship (God as object of worship). Rather, worship should be understood as first and foremost something God does as the Holy Spirit unites the Church with Christ in his offering of himself to the Father (God as subject of worship). Worship is the way the Church participates in this movement.

This understanding means worship is not a means to another end -- say evangelizing or discipling people. Worship is an end unto itself as the central means by which the Church realizes and manifests the reality of its life in the Triune God.


rob said...


Thanks for these posts, they are very interesting. I had never really thought too deeply about how far we can plumb the truth that the Church is Christ's body.

Do you think there's a limit? Obviously the Church isn't God, but it certainly lives (we hope, by the Holy Spirit), the way, the truth, and the life, as Christ did. I'm sure there are a billion other things the Church is as Christ's body that Christ was on earth and continues to be through us.

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