Worshiping in Season guides ministers through a meaningful framework for ecologically oriented worship. Following the liturgical calendar and maintaining a Christocentric emphasis, Joseph E. Bush Jr. aligns earthly seasons with the liturgy and suggests readings, songs, and other acts of worship to amplify an ecologically informed Christology.
The seasons of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost and Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany recall and reenact dramas about Jesus Christ that entail good news for the natural world and for the flourishing of earthly creatures. Bush examines the Christological and ecological importance of selections from the Roman Catholic Lectionary for the Mass and the Revised Common Lectionary that is used in ecumenical Protestant denominations.
Creation and Christ weave together in concert, and Christian worship is seen as an opportunity to participate in both creation’s longing and in Christ’s saving work. Each chapter includes resources and suggestions for worship as well as biblical commentary and theological interpretation helpful to preaching. This book is a valuable companion in preparing for worship during the important seasons of the Christian year, giving voice to our faith in Christ and our hope for the Earth.
Joseph E. Bush is pastor at Sparta Hill United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church in Evergreen, Alabama. He was director of practice in ministry and mission at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, where he also served as the coordinator for the Washington Theological Consortium’s Certificate in Ecology and Theology. He has also taught on faculties of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the Presbyterian School of Ministry in New Zealand, and the ecumenical Pacific Theological College in the Republic of Fiji.
With a strong theological grounding, Worshipping in Season provides an attentive and utilitarian approach to incorporating ecological concern into the heart of corporate Christian practice. Bush’s application of core concerns for creation alongside a rich examination of the breadth of Christian theological witness provides for an imaginative practical theology for liturgical observances in any Christian worshipping community. I am excited to recommend this text to any pastor or religious leader looking for renewed thinking about liturgy.
There are many devotional books and myriad scholarly tomes with creation themes. Joseph Bush is doing the hard and too often overlooked work of writing to the middle of these extremes. There is much here for the working pastor and parish priest, for the one whose responsibilities include shaping corporate worship and crafting sermons for a specific congregation week after week. Yet this material is not beyond the grasp of lay folk who want more than can reasonably be given in an hour on Sunday morning. Would that more people took this middle position seriously and “translated” their scholarly findings so that the wealth of their scholarship could be not only enjoyed but lived out by a much wider proportion of the faithful.