Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stewing in my brain

Have been thinking quite a bit about 'transformational theology' since reading 'The Art of God' by Christopher Irvine - this wonderfully crafted book of theology addresses the way in which our worship is founded in the transformational nature of encountering God's Spirit. It is very much based in the western liturgical tradition but draws from a variety of sources, Scripture, poetry, early Church teaching etc etc to help us consider again just what is happening in worship.

i was struck by many things in the book, it is very readable but pretty dense theology, but one thing that really made me think was the way he talked of worship as 'doing' - it is not something that happens to us or for us, but something into which we enter actively, even when the words are being read to or for us (as in the Eucharistic Prayer, for instance). My own concern is that in worship I can 'do a good show' as a worship leader, but the purpose of what we do is to offer ourselves for change, being changed by an encounter with God. This is a very simplistic way of expressing what comes through with depth and richness in the book, and it is something we should all know, but perhaps it is not always at the forefront of our mind when we gather in Church or elsewhere to worship... Do we go into a service or time of worship thinking 'How is God going to change me today?' Or do we go in expecting to be entertained or distracted from the world around us for a while?

Of course all of life has the potential to be transformative, but worship is the apex of what we were created to do, and indeed to be. We are God's handiwork, and as I said when i last mentioned this book in an earlier post, worship is the studio in which this artwork is fashioned.

I also thought (again) how much i enjoy reading and thinking about good theological reflection, and this book certainly is. I must now put these words into a sensible review for the magazine that was kind enough to send it to me!

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