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Holy Conversation

Spirituality for Worship

By Jonathan Linman

Publication Year: 2010

Despite widespread interest in spirituality, its most common corporate form, congregational worship, is rarely discussed in those terms. This book explores liturgical spirituality as a holy conversation between God and us.

Linking the themes of spirituality and worship and giving each needed focus in ways that are biblically and theologically rich and consistent with ecumenical traditions, this book specifically explores the relationship of sacred reading (lectio divina) to worship. Linman sees this practice as one element in the larger liturgical action of Gathering, Word, Meal, and Sending. Our "spiritual worship" (cf. Rom 12:1), he argues, is the holy conversation between worshipers and the triune God who leads us to greater participation in Christ and to transformation through Christ's presence.

Raising important issues for worship renewal and interspersed with practical insights and suggestions, this book serves as a primer for those who want to more fully learn how to worship, and, through the power of the Spirit, to deepen their awareness of the encounter with Christ made known in Word and Sacrament.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-3


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pp. iii-v

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pp. vii-ix

The passion to write this book emerged in the context of my first academic sabbatical during the autumn of 2004 when varied circumstances in my life coincided: the leisure to write; accumulated years of liturgical leadership in a congregation and extensive reflection on worship practices; my first years...

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pp. 1-9

However it is variously named—Mass, Holy Communion, Holy Eucharist, Service of Word and Table, Divine Liturgy, Service for the Lord’s Day—the event occurring when Christians gather to hear and respond to the Word, to pray and share in the sacramental meal, and to be sent into the world...

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PART 1: Spirituality, Worship, and Lectio Divina

The first part of this book is an exploration of the general terms spirituality and worship toward understanding spirituality for worship. Meditations on the day of Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts serve to carry this segment of our holy conversation. It is compelling how much light the biblical...

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Chapter 1: Understanding Spirituality for Worship

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pp. 13-21

Karl Rahner, a prominent twentieth-century Roman Catholic theologian, summed up well the spirit of our age when he suggested that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he or she will not exist at all.”1 Rahner’s observation suggests a recognition of people’s yearnings for direct experience...

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Chapter 2: Worship and Holy Conversation

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pp. 22-30

The understanding of liturgical worship as holy conversation is reinforced by a German word for worship, Gottesdienst, which can mean simultaneously God’s service to human beings and human service in response to God. In the spirit of this dual exchange, Martin Luther understood worshipful liturgy...

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Chapter 3: Lectio Divina and Holy Conversation

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pp. 31-49

Both explicit and implied rules aid and guide conversation. At an informal level, for example, conversationalists know the conventional rule of not interrupting when another is speaking. In formal legislative sessions, Robert’s Rules of Order and other manuals on parliamentary procedure establish...

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PART 2: Meditations on the Mass

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pp. 51-56

The second part of this book is in large measure an application of the principles explored thus far to a particular liturgy: a Mass for the Day of Pentecost. In addition to being a common term for worship on the Lord’s Day, the word mass also carries artistic overtones—think of the many musical masterpieces...

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Chapter 4: Preparation

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pp. 57-80

Just as practitioners prepare for divine encounter in lectio divina, worshipers also prepare themselves in parallel fashion for such encounter in liturgical worship. Liturgically, the gathering constitutes the assembly’s activity in preparing to meet Christ in Word and sacraments. Spiritually speaking, gathering...

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Chapter 5: Reading

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pp. 81-97

Reading is a basic Christian spiritual discipline, as our faith is a tradition of the book, the Bible. As a corollary to this fact, listening attentively to the Word of God read aloud in assembly is also a central feature of Christian spirituality. Our liturgical practice reverberates with the age of oral tradition,...

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Chapter 6: Meditation

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pp. 98-113

Meditation as a movement in lectio divina builds on and goes beyond the basic proclamation laid out in the readings. During the reading of passages from Scripture, God’s voice in holy conversation is primary. We have the secondary role as obedient listeners seeking insight into the more objective...

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Chapter 7: Prayer

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pp. 114-129

The act of praying is a feature of liturgical worship from the beginning of the liturgy to its conclusion. Hymns can be prayers of petition. Recitation of the Nicene Creed as an expression of praise is a form of prayer. And so on. But there is a special place for praying in the Western Rite in the form of the...

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Chapter 8: Contemplation

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pp. 130-153

In contrast to meditation, which involves very active mental processes, contemplation in lectio divina emphasizes receptive, directly participatory, and experiential modes of awareness. Contemplation also features a reintegration with our sense of being embodied, an appreciation for how God in Christ...

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Chapter 9: Sending

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pp. 154-170

The concluding movement of lectio divina takes up the theme of incarnation for mission, particularly how encounter with the Word will be embodied in our lives and ministries. This follows on the heels of the contemplative dwelling, which itself emerged in relation to prayers and meditation in response to the...


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pp. 171-176


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pp. 177-181


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pp. 182-187


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pp. 188-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781451411676
E-ISBN-10: 1451411677
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800621308
Print-ISBN-10: 0800621301

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2010