In the course of a teaching and writing career cut too short, Mark Searle (1941-1992) provided a worthy contribution to the study of liturgy. The breadth of his liturgical interests and his desire to integrate a wide range of academic areas with the study of liturgy mark this scholar as a gifted thinker and author, arguably a pioneer. In Rehearsing God's Just Kingdom, Stephen S. Wilbricht explores Searle's basic conviction that liturgy represents, rehearses, and forms in its participants the essential commitments of the Christian community.
Searle called for the church's liturgy to be embraced as a rehearsal that is performed over and over, again and again, until it is practiced perfectly in the kingdom of heaven. In an age when so much depends on instant gratification and in which institutional commitment is often held in contempt, Searle's thinking provides an avenue for liturgical renewal that hinges upon a respect for and trust in ritual forms and behavior.
Stephen S. Wilbricht, CSC, is assistant professor of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. His work on liturgical topics has been published in several journals, including Worship, Catechumenate, and Pastoral Liturgy.