Cultural Liturgies and the Battle for the Heart

In my opening sermon on Daniel, I made a reference to “cultural liturgies.” This term is coined by theologian James KA Smith (as I mentioned). I said that our lives consist of liturgies that reflect our allegiances. We are more than thinking people, but people of habits, habits that reflect our desires and what we count as dear in life. The deportation of Daniel and the implementation of radical assimilation into Babylonian culture, education, language, names, and diet was a holistic reorientation aimed not just at the mind but also the heart.

When we consider our identity as Christian exiles with dual citizenship in heaven and on earth, we must take inventory of our thoughts and behaviors, and whether they reflect the ethics of the Kingdom. When we pray that God’s Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying for the intrusion of God’s city into the city of man. Even if we are under a difficult magistrate, a difficult boss, and if all our institutional allegiances are fraught with sin and great difficulty, we can flourish. We can grow wherever we’re planted by God. God’s Kingdom wins. We must desire those things that are above, the things to come, if we are to be effective harbingers of the good news of the Kingdom — and the joy of entering thereby.

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