Hi friends, Sarah here to chat with you this week about chapters seven and eight in Tish Harrison Warren’s book, Liturgy of the Ordinary. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been challenged each week as we’ve sipped slowly on the riches of this book! So much wisdom, so much to ponder.
We know all about the sacred in our line of work, don’t we? We write home about it in newsletters, and stand up and share about it in our home churches. It is why we leave our familiar spheres and loved ones over and over again. We get front row seats for God’s glory displays in transformed lives and justice victories and mercy manifested.
On a very ordinary Thursday, I ride my bike to the local market, avoiding eye contact with my neighbor so she doesn’t ask me a hundred questions while I close the gate. I swing by the electricity company to enjoy five minutes of air conditioning as I pay the bill. Soon my backpack and bike basket are loaded up with fresh veggies and fruit, and whatever I can fit in from the mini grocery store across the street. There’s a man outside the market ready to give a ride to customers on his motorcycle. He likes to practice his English and we chat about the weather and American politics.
Do these moments matter?
Chapter 7 is called “Checking Email: Blessing and Sending”, and the author bridges the gap we too often create between sacred work and our corporate worship, and the smallest of tasks that we complete each day. She said, “We are part of God’s big vision—the redemption of all things—through the earthy craft of living out our vocation, hour by hour, task by task. I want to do the big work of the kingdom, but I have to learn to live it out in the small tasks before me—the missio Dei in the daily grind”.
I too want to do big Kingdom work, with my own labels of what that extraordinary looks like. Too often I fall prey to pulling rank, adding value to what I consider to be responsibilities and vocation more important than another. Yet, it is in the most ordinary of tasks that God can work in and through us, as we walk through our day as sent ones, blessed ones, loved ones. As Tish says, “I want to learn how to spend time over my inbox, laundry, and tax forms, yet, mysteriously, always on my knees, offering up my work as a prayer to the God who blesses and sends”.
This mindset, this attitude of our hearts spills over into the topic of the next chapter too which is all about waiting. I loved that Tish spent time talking about the church calendar, which we went through together in Book club in 2017 (check out more from that discussion of The Circle of Seasons in our Book Club archive). When we look at waiting as a gift, we get pulled out of our frantic, give-it-to-me-right-now lives and focus on Jesus who holds both past time and future time. We walk out patience in the moments of our days that feel incredibly ordinary (and often so very frustrating) yet waiting is actually full of longing and hope. I’m not there yet, friends. I’m rather stuck in the place of waiting for the gift, rather than seeing the waiting as the gift.
There’s just too much goodness in these two chapters! What stuck out to you? How is the idea of being blessed and sent working its way into your ordinary days? Pay attention to your moments of waiting this week. What are your responses revealing about your view of time?
Here’s the reading schedule for Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life:
November 6: Chapters 7-8, November 13: Chapter 9, November 20: Chapter 10, November 27: Chapter 11