Three or four years ago, I read Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard, a Catholic convert from evangelical Protestantism. A small book, but a powerful read. A few selections follow:
The worship of God, surely, should be the place where men, angels, and devils may see human flesh once more set free into all that it was created to be. To restrict that worship to sitting in pews and listening to words spoken is to narrow things down in a manner strange to the gospel. We are creatures who are made to bow, not just spiritually . . . but with kneebones and neck muscles... (page 37)
To anyone who was swept away by the great cathedrals I would have pointed out crisply that Jesus built no such edifices. In so doing, I would have ignored the overwhelming fact that, while He built no such edifices, He spoke words of such power and glory that they burned into the hearts of men and kindled all the skill and creativeness that was in them. His words did not spread a frost over human potential. They roused and vivified us and set us free to do all of our work for the glory of God, whether that work meant cups of cold water, prayers, building, baking or typing. The Word became flesh. The word always becomes flesh. What is true in a man's heart will take on the mantle of good works, or of stone, or of gilded illuminating around the border of a manuscript, or of well-baked bread.
One's coming to God has nothing to do with how one feels . . . . you do it because that is what the people of God do. Moreover, in so doing, you discover that, far from being mere drab duty, it orders your life and undergirds it and gives it a rhythm . . . if he has learned to look on prayer as a plain habit, he will find that it is not so much of a struggle. (page 70)
The Bible is not a handbook for everything. It opens up the vision of God for us mortals, and this vision comes upon our mortal life and redeems it and transfigures it and glorifies it, so that all that we are springs into new vigor. Far from quelling our human potentialities and yearnings and capacities, it redeems them and sets them free . . . . To prohibit ceremony, or even to distrust it, and to reduce the worship of God Himself to the meager resources available to verbalism, is surely to have dealt Christendom a dolorous blow.