Whole-Life Worship

Sacred times and places are superseded by the eschatological public activity of those who at all times and in all places stand “before the face of Christ” and from this position before God make the everyday round of so-called secular life into the arena of the unlimited and unceasing glorification of the divine will. At this point the doctrines of worship and Christian “ethics” converge. This shows conclusively that the total Christian community with all its members is the bearer of this worship and that not only sacred functions but also cultically privileged persons lose their right to exist. The universal priesthood of all believers, called forth and manifested in the whole range of its activity, now appears as the eschatological worship of God which puts an end to every other cultus. The harshness of this finding certainly seems to contradict the fact that in this passage [Romans 12:1] Paul deliberately and in no way fortuitously employs cultic terminology and, in particular, the language of sacrifice. But in reality it is precisely this which demonstrates the  radical nature of the shift which has taken place here; so far from there being any room left for cultic thinking, the use of cultic terminology becomes itself the means of making clear, through a paradox, the extent of the upheaval. In the eschatological age there is no longer anything “profane,” except what man himself renders profane or demonic: but similarly there is nothing holy in the cultic sense except the community of the holy people and their self-abandonment in the service of the Lord to whom the world and all its dominions belong.

—Ernst Käsemann, “Worship and Everyday Life: A Note on Romans 12” in New Testament Questions of Today, 191-2

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