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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Saturday, November 14

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
—Psalm 22:27

British theologian and mystic Evelyn Underhill, best known for her classic text Mysticism, was a prolific writer on the many facets of prayer and worship.

Among the beliefs that set her apart was her contention that, in spite of her own preference for the Anglo-Catholic tradition, all forms of worship are legitimate. What did matter, she maintained, was “the determined fixing of our will upon God, and pressing toward him steadily and without deflection.”

Put another way, worship was not a “spectator sport” for Underhill. Writing in Worship, published in 1936, she argued that it is an activity that

purifies, enlightens and at least transforms, every life submitted to its influence; and this is not merely in the ethical or devotional sense. It does all this because it wakes up and liberates that "seed" of the supernatural life, in virtue of which we are spiritual beings capable of responding to that God who is Spirit; and which indeed gives to humanity a certain mysterious kinship with Him.

Worship, she argued, is “therefore in the deepest sense creative and redemptive.” God invites, we respond, and that exchange, however tentative or ungainly on our part, changes us. In loving God, and expressing that love as adoration or worship, we allow ourselves to be transformed at the most fundamental level, to be possessed by God.

O God, when we imagine that what you most desire is an offering of what we possess, help us to remember that above all else, you yearn to possess our hearts.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.