New Creation, by Frank C. Senn

Anyone who uses the word "worldview" in a book title had better be prepared to deliver. Frank C. Senn, author of the magisterial Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical (1997) and one of today's leading liturgical theologians, does indeed essay "a liturgical worldview" in these tightly constructed and agilely crafted chapters, most of which originated as lectures delivered in Europe and the U.S.

The redundancy that occasionally plagues lectures turned into books is here largely absent. Three or four central ideas form New Creation's marrow, and their repetition is necessary. For Senn, whose vocation as a Lutheran pastor is evident on every page, liturgy is the work of the Christian people offered up to the Triune God. All congregations, whether structured or spontaneous, practice liturgy every time they gather together. In that regard, liturgy can be defined phenomenologically and descriptively simply as what happens in worship.

Senn is especially interested in the quality of our worship. Because liturgy demonstrates what it is like to live in a redeemed world, it has ethical and even political implications. Liturgy is a performance where the "kingdom of God is made present, manifested, epiphanized to those with the eyes of faith to see it," Senn writes. The baptized worship God on behalf of the world. Being and doing, form and function coalesce in the liturgy as nowhere else.