Peckler's text, Worship: A Primer in Christian Ritual, is a welcome addition in the study of liturgy. The author defines from the very beginning: "This text is one attempt to answer the question: ‘What is Worship?'" and proceeds to unwind the history of liturgy and its relation to worship. Essentially, the eight chapters may be divided in half, the first four dealing with historical and theological foundations and the last four the contextualization of worship in cultural and sociological settings.
The historical sections present both the development of the vocabulary of liturgy as well as its practice. Unlike historical texts that allow the reader to get lost in a sea of details, most chapters end with a conclusion to help the reader reorganize and focus. The author does not shy away from dealing with difficult liturgical issues, past and present, openly and honestly. Peckler's writing style is informative and at the same time inviting, leading the reader to a fuller understanding of the depths of worship.
The second half introduces material that considers liturgical inculturation and "the importance of worship that is contextualized according to the particular community gathered to celebrate." Peckler deals with the issues related to multicultural aspects of worship and concludes with his view of its future. Though written from a Catholic point of view, the text would be a great resource for non-catholics studying worship and liturgy.
The text is highly recommended for graduate courses in liturgy or senior-level undergraduate courses related to Christian worship and liturgy. The author includes a rich bibliographical and reference section (8 pages) as well as a detailed index of people, places and terms (10 pages). This text is a "must have" resource and Peckler is to be commended for his contribution to the field.