interlude: the biblical case for liturgical formation

Yesterday I preached on James 4.13-5.20. As far as I’m concerned, the crowing jewel and tip off about what lies at the hidden centre of this passage (and holds together all it’s different elements) is this:

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

James K. A. Smith – eat your heart out!

Here’s James’ word for those who know that Jesus is Lord. Here’s the nuts and bolts of how to put away self-concern and train your hearts to long for the Lord’s appearing as the farmer longs for the rains — banking on it 100%.

What’s his word?

Turn outwards.

In trouble. In success. In sickness. In the desperate struggle to stay afloat when life threatens to swamp your faith.

Take daily, disciplined, habitual action — like repeated liturgical action — to form and shape your desires in response to the gospel.

This is the only way to break free of the massive gravitational pull of self-concern so you can begin to orbit around the true centre of gravity of the moral universe — the Lord Jesus who is coming to judge…

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