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Call to Worship
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What is Christian liturgy?

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Directory for Worship describes the nature and purpose of Christian liturgy this way:

Christian worship joyfully ascribes all praise and honor, glory and power to the triune God. In worship the people of God acknowledge God present in the world and in their lives. As they respond to God’s claim and redemptive action in Jesus Christ, believes are transformed and renewed. In worship the faithful offer themselves to God and are equipped for God’s service in the world. (W-1.1001)

Featured articles

Kimberly Bracken Long, "Bodily Worship," Call to Worship 45.4 (2012)

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Ronald P. Byars, "Three Prayers for the Holy Spirit," Call to Worship 45.3 (2012)

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Jonathan Carroll, "The Feast of Easter," Call to Worship 44.3 (2011)

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Marney Wasserman, "Sacraments and Seasons," Call to Worship 43.3 (2010)

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Book reviews

Is there a book on liturgy you’d like to recommend to other readers of Call to Worship? Submit a review. Be sure to include bibliographic information and a brief description of the book, indicating what you appreciated about it and why others might find it helpful.

Robert Webber’s Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Baker Books, 2008)

by David Gambrell

Webber was a leading voice for liturgical renewal among evangelical Christians. He completed Ancient-Future Worship just weeks before his death from pancreatic cancer in April 2007. As the subtitle suggests, in Ancient-Future Worship Webber urges a narrative approach to the understanding of scripture and Christian worship, calling the church to be re-immerse itself in God’s story as well as the liturgical practices of the early church.

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Learn more

Visit these websites to learn more about Christian liturgy.

Invitation to Christ
Association for Reformed and Liturgical Worship


Recommended reading

Thomas F. Best and Dagmar Heller, eds. So We Believe, So We Pray: Towards Koinonia in Worship: Faith and Order Paper No. 171 (WCC, 1995)

Peter C. Bower, ed. The Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva, 2003)

Ronald P. Byars, Christian Worship: Glorifying and Enjoying God (Geneva, 2000)

Melva Wilson Costen, African American Christian Worship (Abingdon, 1993)

Marva J. Dawn, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture (Eerdmans, 1995)

Ruth C. Duck, Finding Words for Worship: A Guide for Leaders (Westminster John Knox, 1995)

Robert W. Hovda, Strong, Loving, and Wise: Presiding in Liturgy (Liturgical Press, 1983)

Gordon W. Lathrop, Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology (Augsburg Fortress, 1995)

Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship: Reformed According to Scripture (Westminster John Knox, 2002)

Marjorie Procter-Smith, Praying with Our Eyes Open: Engendering Feminist Liturgical Prayer (Abingdon, 1995)

Don E. Saliers, Worship as Theology: A Foretaste of Glory Divine (Abingdon, 1994)

Geoffrey Wainwright, Doxology: A Systematic Theology (Oxford University Press, 1980)

James F. White, Introduction to Christian Worship, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded (Abingdon, 2000)

World Council of Churches, Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry: Faith and Order Paper No. 111 (WCC, 1982)

Edward Yarnold, The Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation: The Origins of the R.C.I.A., Second Edition (The Liturgical Press, 2001)

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