All of life is liturgy. People encounter God as they live, work, and play in human communities and as they work to sustain the health of communities and the ground on which communities are built. Liturgy is distilled from everyday life when we peer through the mist and see the sacramental and spiritual dimensions of daily actions, objects, conversations, and events. In When I in Awesome Wonder, Jill Y. Crainshaw explores this dimension of spirituality and celebrates the ways God's sacramental gifts and presence arise from and return to everyday human experiences.
Jill Y. Crainshaw is the Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Crainshaw's poetry has been published in several magazines, and she is the author of They Spin with Their Hands: Women's Ordination Rites Transforming Communities of Faith (2015), Wisdom's Dwelling Place: Exploring a Wisdom Liturgical Spirituality (2010), and Wise and Discerning Hearts: Introduction to a Wisdom Liturgical Theology (2000).
"Reading When I in Awesome Wonder is a sheer delight! Rich in stories, metaphors, and imagery, this book takes the holy stuff of worship (bread, wine, water, hope, awe, relationships) and grounds it in the everyday stuff of life (food sources and food scarcity, water sources and water contamination, hopelessness around the great issues of our day, etc.). The conversation between these two greatly enhances how we view what we do in worship and reorients us to what we might do differently in worship, but it also allows us to see how the `stuff' of our everyday lives is truly holy—given to us for the work of God in our communities and in the world. As Crainshaw notes, worship then `orients us toward God, the world and others in life-savoring and life-saving ways.'"
Dr. Kathy Black, Gerald Kennedy Chair of Homiletics and Liturgics, Claremont School of Theology
"Jill Crainshaw has offered us all a rich gift. Like a wise teacher, she has invited us to reexamine the ordinary experiences of our lives and find the extraordinary love of God within them. Like a compassionate prophet, she has drawn attention to the injustices of our world near and far and invited us to respond in small and large ways. Like an insightful poet, she offers texts that invite our repeated reading and our concerted contemplation. Like a loving pastor, she has interpreted scriptures and rites for us in provocative and practical ways that draw us nearer to our earth, our neighbors, our worship, and our God. Reading When I in Awesome Wonder may evoke such a deep sense of `wow,' you may not even make it to `thank you.'"
Todd E. Johnson, Theological Director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Jill Crainshaw offers an evocative reflection on the sacramentality of everyday life and its implications for Christian worship. Each chapter retells a particular story, revealing the wonder and awe of human experience as a lens for reimagining worship. The book is provocative, instructive, and enormously inspiring, mirroring qualities that make Jill Crainshaw an exemplary liturgist, preacher, and teacher. A must-have for pastors and liturgists."
Veronice Miles, Visiting Professor of Preaching, Wesley Theological Seminary
"Like a wilderness guide, Jill Crainshaw leads us through poetry and politics, science and spirituality, to open our eyes to the wonder of God's active presence all around us. Drawing from a deep well of sacramental theology, Crainshaw shows us the profound relationship between our sacred rituals and our daily lives, that we may live more mindfully, passionately, and faithfully. Her book is a great gift to preachers, liturgists, and all people who seek to love God—and God's world—with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength."
Kimberly Bracken Long, Editor, Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts