This books follows and builds on the previous work of Lathrop entitled Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology which I previously read and reviewed here.
At the heart of this book, which is subtitled “A Liturgical Ecclesiology”, is the thesis that the Christian assembly – a term that Lathrop seeks to explore and define from a variety of perspectives – is the primary liturgical symbol, the primary place where liturgy is both celebrated and the Church comes to be.
There is something compelling about Lathrop’s thesis. It presumes that liturgy is not an abstract reality but something that only exists when actually enacted by an assembly of Christians in a specific place and at a specific time. Liturgy, in other words, is an event. And it is that event, that enactment, that brings to expression the Church, again in a specific place and at a specific time.
This reality of the Church given expression in the liturgical enactment is not, however, some pale shadow, some mere imitation of the abstract Church, but the full reality of the Church that is both anchored in space and time and also transcends both.
Like his previous volume, Holy People is thoroughly recommended for any scholar of, or participant in, the liturgy.