Essays on Theology of Worship

Wondering why this emphasis?  What's the point of this website?  Is this really Christian?

This website is intended to guide you into worshiping God the Creator and joining in the praise of all creatures around us.  The website is filled with resources to help make your worship more vibrant and expansive.  And if you have resources to share, pass them along!

If this idea seems strange, you need look no further than the Psalms, who cry
    "Sing to the LORD, all the earth! 
    Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult and everything in it. 
    Then shall all the trees of the field sing for joy." (from Psalm 96)
Or the expansive vision of prayer, that "These all look to you to give them their food in due season" (from Psalm 104).

If these are new ideas, or if you find yourself concerned this is "tree-hugging dirt worshipers" promoting something other than Christian orthodoxy, then we encourage some good starting points for you to reflect on our theology as well as God's world around us.  Below are several wonderful essays of varying lengths and intensities, but all filled with great fruitfulness for you!

  • First and foremost, here is an essay by David Rhoads (one of the main contributors to this site, and emeritus professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago) on the The Theology of Worship  (The essay is a chapter from The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary, edited by Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and Paul Santmire.  Minneapolis:  Fortress, 2011.)
  • Ben Stewart, worship professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, has an emphasis that guides much of this website's work, in an understanding of worshiping with creation. Here is his essay on "The Earth as Tutor." (The essay was printed in Let's Talk, the online journal of the Metro Chicago synod of the ELCA.)
  • Here is a link to an article on "Sacramental Imagination" by Larry Rasmussen, emeritus professor of Union Theological Seminary, New York.  (The essay comes from the online Journal of Lutheran Ethics.)  It includes a concluding encouragement: "Do something with this. Write a creed that makes the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed more than a breezy reference to God as “maker of heaven and earth.” Does the universe and its Creator not merit more than five words?"
  • Of a bit different character, here is part of an essay on "The Land Ethic," written by Aldo Leopold, who was a professor of game management at the University of Wisconsin.  This scientists cites the biblical prophets as early proponents for considering our interactions with the world around us. (This essay is some of the center of Leopold's thought in A Sand County Almanac, viewed by many as the most poetic and foundational text for modern ecology.)