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Book: The Worshiping Life: Meditations on the Order of Worship

Lisa Nichols Hickman (Louisville:Westminster/John Knox, 2005). 162 pp. $14.95.

This is a rich, nourishing book. Arranged according to the order of worship (Gathering, Proclaiming, Responding, Sealing, Bearing Out), each piece offers an insightful and inviting look at the moves of worship.

“Meditations” is the right description for the works, as they are best taken up one at a time and pondered for a day or so before moving on to the next one. I intended to breeze through this book’s pages in an afternoon, an attempt to get “write book review” off my list of things to do. I quickly realized that this would not do justice either to the book or to my soul. So I slowed down, savoring each piece before moving on to the next. The entries aren’t sermons in the sense that they do not take a passage of Scripture and open it up, but they do exegete the moves of worship in a way that is at once perceptive and humble and beautifully reverential.

Hickman’s book would be a great gift to worship committee members, children and worship leaders, pastoral staff, and anyone who enjoys good writing. If you are fatigued by worship planning, doubting the value of your work, and wondering if what you do makes any difference, buy this book. It will nourish and comfort you. And if you are joyfully entering each new week ready to plan another worship service, buy this book. It will affirm your call and inspire you to do it yet again.