Books on Worship

The following books are helpful in understanding and planning Christian worship, especially as it relates to God's creation.


 A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth's Ecology (Fortress Press, 2011), by Ben Stewart.
The style of this book relates deeply to the work of this website.  A Watered Garden begins with the classic, ecumenically held patterns of Christian worship and explores them for their deep connections to ecological wisdom, for their sacramental approaches to creation, and for a renewed relationship to the earth now itself in need of God's healing. This book is written especially for North Americans: people who live in a specific ecological region, and who play a particular role in the world's ecology. And of course it is written for Christians, especially those who are part of the Lutheran movement.
Available from Augsburg Fortress.




NEW  The Nature of Things: Rediscovering the Spiritual in God's Creation (Wipf & Stock, 2016) edited by Graham Buxton and Norman Habel, foreword by David Rhoads.  
Leaders in fields of science, ecology, theology, and ethics joined a conversation at Serafino winery in California. The theme of "the spiritual in creation" led to horizons of creation care, liturgy, justice, and discipleship. Focus sections include presence, spirituality, suffering, wisdom, and eco-readings.

Click to purchase from the publisher.




Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice, 2015) by Leah Schade
How can we proclaim justice for God's Creation in the face of climate disruption? How do we share the good news of resurrection even as humans are crucifying Creation? Leah Schade provides theoretical grounding and practical tips for preachers to create environmental sermons that are relevant, courageous, creative, pastoral, and inspiring." http://www.chalicepress.com/Creation-Crisis-Preaching-P1550.aspx

Embodied Liturgy: Lessons in Christian Ritual
(Fortress Press, 2016) by Frank Senn.
Remembering our bodies are created and part of creation, we recommend this new book for liturgical reflection. Part of the official description:
Rooted in phenomenology and incarnational theology, the book gives primary focus to the body as it considers the prayer offices and the liturgical calendar, sacrifices and sacraments, initiation and vestments, ritual theory and play, word and meal, fasting and feasting, penance and celebration, rites of passage, cultural perspectives, and the role of art, music, dance, and drama in worship. The author invites readers to return to the experience of their own body. Available from Fortress Press.


The Season of Creation: A Preacher's Commentary (Fortress Press, 2011) by Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and Paul Santmire
As the global climate crisis worsens, many churches have sought to respond by instituting a movement to observe a liturgical season of creation. Scholars who have pioneered the connections between biblical scholarship, ecological theology, liturgy, and homiletics provide here a comprehensive resource for preaching and leading worship in this new season. Included are theological and practical introductions to observance of the season, biblical texts for twelve Sundays in the three-year lectionary cycle, and astute commentary to help preachers and worship leaders guide their congregations into deeper connection with our imperiled planet.
Available from Augsburg Fortress.


Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry: Congregations, Their Buildings, and Creation Care
(The Alban Institute, 2012), by Mark Torgerson, who teaches at Judson University in Elgin IL in the areas of worship, theology, and architecture.
A practical guide for "cultivating a creation care consciousnes," "Greening worship spaces and certification," "Treating the land as sacred trust," and "the beauty and health of interior environments." With many examples. Highly recommended.

Holy Ground: A Liturgical Cosmology (Fortress Press, 2003), by Gordon Lathrop.
Holy Ground illumines how the central symbols and interactions of Christian liturgy yield a new understanding and experience of the world and contribute to a refreshed sense of ecological ethics - a Christian sense of the holiness of the earth itself.
  Available from Augsburg Fortress.


Preaching Creation: The Environment and the Pulpit (Wipf and Stock, 2011) by John Holbert, Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Preaching at Perkins School of Theology (SMU).
The book examines eight passages of Old and New Testaments to unpack what Scripture says about creation and our need to care for it. A sermon accompanies each passage. The last chapter outlines steps for reading the Bible and a variety of helpful resources for the pracher. Highly recommended.

Preaching Creation Through the Church Year (2000), by Jennifer Philips

Ritualizing Nature: Renewing Christian Liturgy in a Time of Crisis (Fortress Press, 2008), by Paul Santmire.
Is the Christian faith ecologically bankrupt? Theologian H. Paul Santmire has responded forcefully to that frequently voiced question by maintaining that, notwithstanding ambiguities, a single Christian tradition of long standing has something profoundly promising to say about nature and human life in nature.  Available from Augsburg Fortress.


Treasures Old and New: Images in the Lectionary (Fortress Press, 2014), Gail Ramshaw
This book illuminates forty primary images from the three-year lectionary (e.g., fish, garden, mountain, wind). With each image, Ramshaw considers related terms, exploring a total of nearly two hundred words and phrases in light of biblical history, poetry, and liturgical year connections.
  Available from Augsburg Fortress.

From the Beginning to Baptism: Scientific and Sacred Stories of Water, Oil, and Fire
(Michael Glazier, 2010) Linda Gibler
Tracing these common elements of worship from their cosmic origins to their use in our services, Gibler assures that, after this journey through space and time, no one who reads this book will ever again look at a drop of water, an olive, or a candle with the same eyes.

Sundays and Seasons is an annual guide which supports comprehensive season-by-season and week-by-week planning with content and ideas for liturgy and music, preaching and visuals, shaped by the Revised Common Lectionary, the church year, and the assembly gathered around word and sacrament.  It is written for worship planners and leaders, preachers, presiding ministers, worship committees, musicians, visual artists, sacristans and altar guilds, and those who create congregational worship folders.  Available from Augsburg Fortress.

The Sound of Scripture: Reading the Bible Aloud (Lutheran University Press, 2013) by Barbara Laughlin Adler.

This is a brief guide for lay readers who want to become more confident and effective in communicating the meaning of God's Word listeners. Reading scripture aloud involves knowledge and understanding, faith, respect, “spirit and heart,” vocal skill, and physical control. Barbara Laughlin Adler is professor emerita of Communication Studies at Concordia University-Ann Arbor.