The following quote is from pages 180-181 of James K. A. Smith’s, “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit.” (Link)
If the Church is going to send out “restorers” who engage culture for the common good, we will need to recover and remember the rich imaginative practices of historic Christian worship that carry the unique story of the gospel. In this way, the liturgical tradition is a fund for the imagination:
- Kneeling in confession and voicing “the things we have done and the things we have left undone” tangibly and viscerally impresses on us the brokenness of our world and should humble our own pretensions.
- Pledging allegiance in the Creed is a political act – a reminder that we are citizens of a coming kingdom, curtailing our temptations to over-identify with any configuration of the earthly city.
- The rite of Baptism, where the congregation vows to help raise the child and come alongside the parents, is just the liturgical formation we need in order to be a people who can support those raising children with intellectual disabilities or those with the calling and courage to adopt special-needs children.
- Sitting at the Lord’s Table with the risen King, where all are invited to eat, is a tactile reminder of the just, abundant world that God longs for.
In Sum, the innovative restorative work of culture-making needs to be pried by those liturgical traditions that orient our imagination to kingdom come. In order to foster a Christian imagination, we don’t need to invent; we need to remember. We cannot hope to re-create the world if we are constantly reinventing “church,” because we will reinvent outside right out of the Story. Liturgical tradition is the platform for imaginative innovation.