Twenty-five years in the making, author W. David O. Taylor’s comprehensive, enlightening narrative is about “the unique glory of the physical body in corporate worship.” Taylor engages two lines of argument: “I argue against the idea that our bodies are merely neutral spectators or a problem to be escaped at worship; there is, in fact, nothing neutral whatsoever about the bodies that we bring to worship.” Second, Taylor explores the biblical narrative and argues that it teaches us, “(1) that we must worship God with our bodies, (2) that we need to worship God with our bodies, and (3) that we get to worship God with our bodies.”
Within the framework of these two arguments, Taylor covers topics such as the historical, theological and scientific perspectives on the body in worship. Particularly enlightening and practical is his chapter titled “The Way of the Body,” in which he explores ethical perspectives on the body in worship, especially focusing on the bodies of those with disabilities, the bodies of the unseen and digital bodies.
Near the conclusion of his book – which is accessible to academics, church leaders, and lay people alike – Taylor asks,” To what end do we offer to God our bodies in worship? We offer our bodies to God so that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our often very broken bodies (2 Cor. 4:10). We offer our bodies to God so that all of it – hand and foot, eye and ear, breath and brain, touch and taste, skin and sinew – might be given more fully over to Jesus in Spirit-ed service of our neighbor. And we offer our bodies to God in anticipation of that day when we shall stand before our risen Lord in our gloriously resurrected bodies, finally and truly at home in our own skin, in love-filled wonder. We offer them, in short, so that we might become like Christ, serve like Christ, and love like Christ.”
Recommended for individual or small group study, though the book doesn’t include discussion questions. (Baker Academic)
About the Author
Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.