EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: Worship And The Saints by Evelyn Underhill

March 18, 2015

From Worship Christian worship is never a solitary undertaking.  Both on its visible and invisible sides, it has a thoroughly social and organic character.  The worshiper, however lonely in appearance, comes before God as a member of a great family; part of the Communion of Saints, living and dead.  His own small effort of adoration is offered “in and for all.”  The first words of the Lord’s Prayer are always there to remind him of his corporate status and responsibility, in its double aspect.  On one hand, he shares the great life and action of the church, the Divine Society; however he may define this difficult term, or wherever he conceives its frontiers to be drawn.  He is immersed in that life, nourished by [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: Worship And Revelation by Evelyn Underhill

March 16, 2015

From Worship Genuine Christian worship, whatever its special emphasis may be, always requires as its foundation belief in the one Holy and Eternal God, the Being of Beings, the “Maker, Lover, and Keeper” of all life; utterly transcendent to His creation, and yet fully present with and in it, besetting, sustaining, molding – above all loving – all that is made.  Its object is a reality “higher than our highest yet more inward than our most inward part,” uniting within His mysterious nature the cosmic and the personal, the extremes of tenderness and power.  This majestic vision it shares to some extent with other great theistic religions – e.g., Judaism and Islam – and here the devotional expressions of [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: Worship And Response by Evelyn Underhill

March 15, 2015

From Worship Worship, in all its grade and kinds, is the response of the creature to the Eternal: nor need we limit this definition to the human sphere.  There is a sense in which we may think of the whole life of the Universe, seen and unseen, conscious and unconscious, as an act of worship, glorifying its Origin, Sustainer, and End.  Only in some such context, indeed, can we begin to understand the emergence and growth of the spirit of worship in men, or the influence which it exerts upon their concrete activities.  Thus worship may be overt or direct, unconscious or conscious.  Where conscious, its emotional color can range from fear through reverence to self-oblivious love.  But whatever its form of expression may be, it is [...]

POETRY: O Sweet Irrational Worship by Thomas Merton

August 15, 2014

Wind and a bobwhite And the afternoon sun. By ceasing to question the sun I have become light, Bird and wind. My leaves sing. I am earth, earth All these lighted things Grow from my heart. A tall, spare pine Stands like the initial of my first Name when I had one. When I had a spirit, When I was on fire When this valley was Made out of fresh air You spoke my name In naming Your silence: O sweet, irrational worship! I am earth, earth My heart’s love Bursts with hay and flowers. I am a lake of blue air In which my own appointed place Field and valley Stand reflected. I am earth, earth Out of my grass heart Rises the bobwhite Out of my nameless weeds His foolish [...]

WORSHIP: Place, by Doris Grumbach

July 15, 2014

From The Presence of Absence Most of the faithful give evidence of their belief in public places.  For them, worship is a communal act carried out in a consecrated or holy place where ceremony is predetermined, and the actions and postures of the body – kneeling, bowing, standing, making symbolic signs – are prescribed, almost automatic, so many times in a lifetime have they been performed.  For many, they provide the warm security of unquestioned repetition, for others the outward demonstration of inner conviction. Worship often begins in small gatherings.  These inevitably expand to require governing bodies which, of necessity, must lead a worldly financial life at some distance from the worshiper in the pew.  Religious [...]

SATURDAY READING: Devotion — The Way Of The Psalm Singer by Paula Huston

April 26, 2014

From The Holy Way Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.(Rule of Saint Benedict) Surprisingly enough, it was my mother who first told me about them.  She actually got the newspaper out of the trash just so she could show me their picture – the four members of a new rock group with oafish haircuts who were causing a major sensation.  It was 1964, I was twelve, and they were the Beatles.  That week they sang, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” on The Ed Sullivan Show, and on the playground the day after their performance, I realized that I now understood the term devotee.  This was a word I’d [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL: Christianity Proclaims the Value of the Individual

November 26, 2012

From Worship, Chapter IX: The Principles of Personal Worship The “praying church” is built of praying souls; and all that has been said of the fundamentally social character of Christian worship, as expressed in the common liturgic action of the church, and of the status of the individual soul as an organic part of this corporate life, must not be allowed to obscure this complementary truth.  Christianity proclaims, more clearly than any other religion, the value and particular vocation of the individual, his unique and direct relation to God.  Its greatest triumphs have been the individual achievements of the saints: that is, persons whose lives of worship have made them tools of God.  Already in the teaching and practice of [...]