Sunday Meditation

“Worship is the ordering and reordering of our material being to the end for which it was meant. Implicit in the materiality of Christian worship is this sense that God meets us in materiality, and that the natural world is always more than just nature — it is charged with the presence and glory of God. Thus the very performance of Christian worship cuts against both dualistic gnosticism, which would construe matter and bodies as inherently evil, and reductionistic naturalism, which would construe the world as “merely” natural.

In short, the practice of Christian worship resists two sorts of reductionism: a dualistic, supernaturalistic gnosticism, on the one hand, and a materialistic, flattened naturalism, on the other other. Both evacuate the world of God’s presence, either by suggesting that a holy God would not traffic with the impurities of materiality, or by a “nothing-but” conception of the material as nothing more than material. The sacramental imagination runs counter to both of these reductionistic understandings of the world. The understanding of the world in Christian worship walks the tightrope of a “theological materialism” that both affirms the goodness of materiality but also that the material is only insofar as it participates in more than the material. Thus the sacramental imagination implicit in Christian worship eschews the dichotomies of both naturalism and supernaturalism.”

~James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation, 143.