When we take seriously Paul's "ministerial" characterization of those in power as "God's liturgists" and "God's deacons (to serve you) towards the good" (Rom. 13: 4, 6), worldly authorities must be reminded of what they actually, yet perhaps unknowingly, are. The church owes this remembrance not only to Christian statesmen but also to every ruler and actually to all who are in a state of power at various levels of social life (such as parents) and therefore bearers of political responsibility.

It is not, however, a marginal question whether these de facto "liturgists" or "deacons" know their "business" from experience. It makes a crucial difference when the actors in their political roles understand themselves in liturgical terms or, to name alternatives to this view, as agents of the general will, or as representing God on earth, or as political jobholders, or as managers, etc. If they want to live up to their calling to be "God's liturgists and deacons," they will be well advised to learn what it means to experience a true liturgy and to be served by a genuine deacon.

In this perspective the worship of the church, which provides a sabbatical interruption of the politics of the world by immersing people over and over again into the panesthetical vision of the politics of God, may well be regarded as something like an elementary school for those who bear political responsibility. This political diakonia, as important as this service to the world is, does however not constitute either the inner rationale or the core of the church's political worship. Its rationale lies solely in the praised lordship of Christ, who happens to rule not an original horde of individual believers but a body of fellow-citizens.

Yet the rediscovery of the primary political nature of the church as it is rooted in worship (liturgy as politics) calls forth a renewed apprehension of political diakonia (politics as liturgy). The latter does not constitute another field or type of action but must be seen a mere extension of the practice of "seeking the welfare of the city" that, as the intercessions among other worship practices show, is already part and parcel of the liturgy.

References and Further Reading

Arendt, Hannah (1958). The Human Condition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Augustine, Aurelius (1997). The City of God. Vol. II of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

(repr.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. Barth, Karl (1954). "The Christian Community and the Civil Community." In Against the

Stream: Shorter Post-War Writings 1946-52, 15-50. London: SCM. Bayer, Oswald (1998). "Nature and Institution: Luther's Doctrine of the Three Estates,"

trans. C. Helmer. Lutheran Quarterly 7, 125-59. Dix, Dom Gregory (1945). The Shape of the Liturgy. London: A. & C. Black.

Hauerwas, Stanley (1995). "The Liturgical Shape of the Christian Life: Teaching Christian Ethics as Worship." In In Good Company. The Church as Polis, 153-68. Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame University Press.

Horsley, Richard A., ed. (1997). Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society. Harrisburg, Pa: Trinity.

Luther, Martin (1883_). Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Weimar: Hermann Böhlau Nachfolger (WA).

-(1943) Works, vol. II. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg.

O'Donovan, Oliver (1996). The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Robinson, John A. T. (1963). Liturgy Coming to Life. Philadelphia: Westminster.

Wannenwetsch, Bernd (1996). "The Political Worship of the Church: A Critical and Empowering Practice." Modern Theology 12, 269-99.

-(199 7). Gottesdienst als Lebensform. Ethik für Christenbürger. Stuttgart, Berlin, Köln,

Mainz: Kohlhammer. Forthcoming in English as Political Worship: Ethics for Christian Citizens, trans. Margaret Kohl. Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

-(2002). "Luther's Moral Theology." In Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther, ed. D.

McKim. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 120-135.

-(2003). "The Liturgical Origin of the Christian Politeia: Overcoming the Weberian

Temptation." In Ch. Stumpf and H. Zaborowski (eds.), Church as Politeia: The Political Self-Understanding of Christianity. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

Yeago, David (1998). "Martin Luther on Grace, Law and Moral Life: Prolegomena to an Ecumenical Discussion of Veritatis Splendor." The Thomist 62, 163-91.

Yoder, John Howard (1994). "Sacrament as Social Process: Christ the Transformer of Culture." In M. G. Cartwright (ed.), The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecclesiological and Ecumenical, 359-73.Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans.

-(199 7). "Firstfruits: The Paradigmatic Public Role of God's People." In For the

Nations: Essays Public and Evangelical, 15-36. Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans.

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