The Leveling Table

The Lord’s Table is a leveling reality in a world of increasing inequalities, an enacted vision of “a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine” (Isa. 25:6). This strange feast is the civic rite of another city—the Heavenly City—which is why it includes our pledge of allegiance, the Creed.

—James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love:  The Spiritual Power of Habit, 98

Worship as Story

Christian worship rehabituates our loves because it embeds us in—and embeds in us—a different orienting Story, the story of God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. But Christian worship doesn’t just rehearse the outlines of this story in a kind of CliffsNotes, bullet-pointed distillation of some “facts.” It does so in a way that is storied, imaginative, and works on us more like a novel than a newspaper article. Story isn’t just the what of Christian worship; it is also the how.

—James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love:  The Spiritual Power of Habit, 106

Worship and Work

Worship is not some escape from “the work week.” To the contrary, our worship rituals train our hearts and aim our desires toward God and his kingdom so that, when we are sent from worship to take up our work, we do so with a habituated orientation toward the Lover of our souls.

—James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, 187


Worship is not merely time with a deistic god who winds us up and then sends us out on our own; we don’t enter worship for “top up” refueling to then leave as self-sufficient, autonomous actors. “In the conception of Christian praxis,” Ward notes, “there is no room for such a modern notion of self-sufficiency.” Instead, the biblical vision is one of co-abiding presence and participation (“I in you and you in me”).

—James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, 153