Christian Worship: More Material Than You Might Think

Christian Worship: More Material Than You Might Think

One of the principal points that James K. A. Smith drives home near the center of his book, Desiring the Kingdom, is that our humanity is not primarily formed by the worldview we adopt or the doctrine we espouse but by practice. This is why “lived worship” is so indispensable to what it means to be a Christian, and why Christian worship forms us through our participation in it. Smith writes the following on page 139,

“One of the first things that should strike us about Christian worship is how earthly, material, and mundane it is. To engage in worship requires a body—with lungs to sing, knees to kneel, legs to stand, arms to raise, eyes to weep, noses to smell, tongues to taste, ears to hear, hands to hold and raise. Christian worship is not the sort of thing that ethereal, disembodied spirits could engage in. Just as immaterial ghosts couldn’t have eaten fish with the disciples on the shore of Galilee (Luke 25:36-43), neither could immaterial creatures worship so richly (angels could never have written the Psalms!). The rhythms and rituals of Christian worship invoke and feed off of our embodiment and traffic in the stuff of a material world…”

This idea may at once intrigue and puzzle you. If these sentences cause all kinds of questions to surface in your mind then I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of Desiring the Kingdom and start reading.


David Lindell is the West Campus Pastor at James River Church. To view content and messages from David visit

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About me

David Lindell

David Lindell

David serves as the Campus Ministries Director and West Campus pastor at James River Church in Springfield, Missouri. He has theology degrees from Evangel University (BA) and Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). David has written for Christianity Today and currently writes for James River Church’s blog. He is married to Becky and they have three children: Owen, Elliot, and Henley. You can follow him on Twitter @davidlindell