Contemplative Profiles: Evelyn Underhill

Week Three: United in Praise

Contemplative profiles are back with the help of author and historian Lisa Deam. This month we’re featuring Evelyn Underhill:

We belong to different denominations and often have different approaches to prayer and worship. Yet God’s truth unites us. In her book, Worship, Evelyn Underhill describes the various streams of Christianity coming together to praise the God who became incarnate in time and space:

“The monk or nun rising to recite the Night Office that the Church’s praise of God may never cease, and the Quaker waiting in silent assurance on the Spirit given at Pentecost; the ritualist, ordering with care every detail of a complicated ceremonial that God may be glorified thereby, and the old woman content to boil her potatoes in the same sacred intention; the Catholic burning a candle before the symbolic image of the Sacred Heart or confidently seeking the same Divine Presence in the tabernacle, and the Methodist or Lutheran pouring out his devotion in hymns to the Name of Jesus; the Orthodox bowed down in speechless adoration at the culminating moment of the Divine Mysteries, and the Salvationist marching to drum and tambourine behind the banner of the Cross – all these are here at one. Their worship is conditioned by a concrete fact; the stooping down of the Absolute to disclose Himself within the narrow human radius, the historical incarnation of the Eternal Logos within time.”

Many practices, one praise. What a beautiful picture of God’s diverse people becoming one in response to the gift of his son!

For Reflection

How can I use my distinctive faith tradition to pray to and worship God this week?


About Lisa Deam

Lisa Deam writes and speaks about Christian spiritual formation from a historical perspective. She’s the author of A World Transformed: Exploring the Spirituality of Medieval Maps. Visit her on Twitter @LisaKDeam and at