On Liturgy and Life

I grew up in an evangelical church. I believed the more tears that fell, the more forgiven and repentant you were. When I couldn’t cry, I thought God abandoned me. but he hadn’t, in fact, I remember hearing a still small voice amongst the ruckus of worship my freshman year at church camp. “I haven’t forgotten about you.” eight years later, I again revisit the stillness of God.

Lately, I have been studying liturgy. I wake up at 6:30 am every morning, the sun pouring through my windows to kiss my face. My first act of the day is to open my bible. One Paragraph or a Page, sometimes I get caught up in the story for a few chapters.

I’m reading about Joshua right now. God renewed his promise for the next generation of Israelites, just as he renews his mercies for me every morning. In the promise land, they find new beginnings, a new land to cultivate, new ground to explore. Just as the Lord has given me this new day, to rejoice. He has given me this morning to take a deep breath of his goodness before I go into a hurting world. The Israelites were faced with new cultures and new people. Just as I meet new people every day, who is my neighbor? Not only the people I like but also the ones I do not. I start my day with the habit of waking slowly into the arms of the one who made this day and my very life.

I start my day with the habit of waking slowly into the arms of the one who made this day and my very life.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Tish Harrison Warren spoke these words to me though her outline of daily liturgy, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. Of course, I wake up every day, into new mercies. I eat every day in the habit of nourishment. I breathe, smile, pray, worship. hopefully, I laugh and sing. All these little things that make up our day can be given to God in an act of worship. He gave me this breath, I will praise him. He gave me this voice, I will sing songs of praise. We all worship something, I will worship the creator-king of the universe.

In a consumerist culture, we face a challenge to worship. We set aside time to purchase goods and services without taking the time to think. Why do I need more? or Who made this? I can pray for the farmer that grew the tomatoes in my salad. I can thank the king of heaven for proving me with food again. I can pause before a purchase and decide If I want to spend my money on this. The Item I want may be throwing someone else deeper into slavery.

Buying locally is good, buying smart is better.

When we buy smart, we understand where our products are coming from. We know where our money is going. If we advocate against international trade we lose the benefits of a global economy. Our production has increased globally through specialization. Buying smart puts our dollars to the companies that care for humanity. Not just the consumers, but producers and children across the globe. When I pray for the hands that prepared my meal, I don’t simply pray for the chef. I also pray for the farmer, the grocer, the families that take part in my evening meal.

Education is a part of my day too. As a junior in college, I search for the best ways to understand the topic I am studying. Each course is different and each test needs a personalized approach. I test out of college classes, college for me is self-directed and sometimes unmotivated. I specify each lesson plan to not only the test but the other courses I am taking as well.

I learned economics from a YouTube professor, Mr. Cliffard. He taught me Microeconomics and Macroeconomics from watching his videos and following the ultimate review packet he designed. you can find it at ACDCLeadership. When I studied Marketing, I worked alongside the marketing director at the Chick-fil-a I worked at. Education is a lifelong pursuit and a powerful habit to cultivate within.

Knowledge is the information gained, wisdom is practical experience. I study the way I do so that I do my best to gain both. If, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).” I have a must know him and love in order to grow in understanding.

I quit my day job to be a full-time student, but it didn’t last very long. Working is a part of our daily liturgies. It is serving God, it is working with our hands, it is using the minds he placed in our heads. Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden before the fall, and we will work in paradise. Jesus was a carpenter before he began his ministry. I lasted only a week as a full-time student before I increased my babysitting hours and started a Young Living business.

Working well is part of God’s design, as is resting well. “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day, you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest (Exodus 34:21).” God wrote work into his law, but he also legislated rest. He gave us the sabbath as a blessing. A day to worship him fully, a day to spend with family, a breath of fresh air after a long week. The sabbath is a gift, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).” The sabbath was not made to restrict our production, but as a day to relax, refocus and reflect on all God has done for us. I avoid scheduling anything on Sunday and reserve it for worship and relationships. 

Eight years later, I still find God in the moments between breaths. When I cling closer to his side and rest, remembering that he is the Lord. He is king of this moment. I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

I encourage you to look into the topic of liturgy deeper. I warn you, following this blog with cause your reading list to increase drastically.  Today, I have two.

 You are what you Love: the spiritual power of habit. by James K. Smith

Liturgy of the Ordinary: sacred practices in everyday life by Tish HarrisonWarren. 

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