Liturgy informs our moments. Recently, I have revived my love for it. After reading Tish Harrison Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary a few years ago, I recognized the significant ways intentional spiritual practices remind me that I am always living in God’s story. One page at a time.
Scanning through the Old Testament, the word “observe” occurs repeatedly. It pertained to more than paying attention to important commands/directives to the Israelites. Holidays and routine practices became methods through which the Jews remembered their story. Being an observant was not a passive activity. It required recalling the character of God as revealed in their collective story and recognizing their corporate and individual roles role in it. How did God deliver us? What promises have we seen come to fruition? When did we witness God’s provision (even if it wasn’t as expected)? Being an observant is about actively seeking identity and purpose in God’s unfolding story.
Connecting to ancient practices through the practices and words of our faith ancestors brings comfort. I realize that my fears, joys, grief, hopes, and wonder are shared by those long before me. And the same God who heard their cries and their praises hears mine. Tish, in her new book Prayer in the Night writes, “Inherited prayers and practices of the church tether us to belief, far more securely than our own vacillating perspectives or self expressions. My twenty something year old self found liturgy confining. But I have realized now it is liberating.
* I wrote a piece a few years ago about creating Ebenezers. They help us recall God’s hand in our story.
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