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Bob George is on the far right front of this photo


By Very Rev. Kevin George

In his book You are What you Love, Philosopher theologian James K. A. Smith writes “too often we look for the Spirit in the extraordinary when God has promised to be present in the ordinary.”1

How very true! While we are often busy looking for the profound in elaborate, illustrious, or incredible, the power of God is on display all about us. It’s all about mindfulness really. Are we paying attention? Do we notice the many and varied ways the Divine makes an appearance in very unidealistic and unrefined places and people?

I think we all fall for the new and the flashy. Yet, as those who follow in the Way of Jesus, a people who have cut their teeth on the importance of story, we are reminded again and again that our gaze should be cast toward the tangible and practical matters of our day-to-day sojourn.

“We keep looking for God in the new, as if grace were always bound up with the next best thing, but Jesus encouraged us to look for God in a simple, regular meal.”2

I get it. Every week we gather around the Table to break bread at our churches. Every week we share roughly similar words in the ritual. Every week we are fed and every week we are sent. I can see how we might get seduced into forgetting just how radical it all is.

We declare in the Eucharist - “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” That’s a mighty bold assertion. And our expression of that boldness is not in a flashy, complex or elaborate event. It is in an event that happens again and again, not just in our churches but in our homes, and around pub and restaurant tables, soup kitchens, and prison cafeterias. It is an ongoing event - it is supper. It is displayed in breaking bread. The overwhelming boldness of God is made manifest in very earthy matter - wheat, yeast, wine. The bold assertion that Christ is risen is at the crux of it all. The question that begs asking is are we mad enough to manifest that message? Are we willing to not just hear the story and mimic the words on a Sunday, but to live in a way that makes that assertion real?

“Despite a million voices crying otherwise, the gracious good news of the gospel is true. It is one thing to understand the sentence “The dead shall be raised”; it is quite another to feel what it must be like if it is true that “he is risen!” But this is a conviction that happens on the register of the imagination.”3

This is where the rubber hits the road. Jamie Smith is right. Worship that restores our loves will be worship that restores our imagination. The backdrop of all that we do on our Christian walk is the assurance of our story. It is incumbent upon those of us entrusted with worship planning and execution to ensure that we do the work to make sure the story sticks.

I pray to find ways to be as effective at liturgy as my dad was. He led liturgy just about every evening at 5 pm at the dinner table in Whiteway, NL. The food was lovingly prepared, thanks was given, people were served, and most often my father would share our story — the George story. The stories were truly unbelievable, but we believed them.

When we were sent from the table we could see Art Rowe skate across a mile–long lake in three strides. We were right there with dad when the mosquitoes were so thick on him that he elevated. His rubber boots did not get wet as he crossed the bog. We could see the large fish. We could smell the Jiggs Dinner they cooked up in the lumber woods. We itched when he described the lice infested conditions he worked in while lumbering. I learned to be a George at the Table, where an exceptional storyteller presided at our daily liturgy. It is one of the soundtracks of my life.

I want the church to restore its love of the gospel — the soundtrack of our Christian walk. I want to part of re-story-ing our imagination. I pray that I might become as effective a liturgist as Bob George was.

Very Rev. Dr. Kevin George is Rector of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and Dean of Huron.


1 James, K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love, The Spiritual Power of Habit, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016), p 66.

2 Ibid., p 67.

3 Ibid., p 93.