Hello friends, today we are discussing Chapters 5 and 6 in Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. Before we dive in, I wanted to share how you all were a part of a monthly writer’s group I’m in. I lead our local chapter, finding speakers and preparing a short interactive talk based on a passage of scripture. Last night our guest speakers shared about how the church has focused on truth and goodness while neglecting beauty. Because of this, too many artistic endeavors have moved outside of the church and away from Christian conversations.
Since they were talking about being creative, I thought of our discussion a few weeks ago involving bed-making and co-creating with God. I had everyone introduce themselves and share if they made their bed or not and if they had any strong feelings about bed making. Such a fun question and wow, I even had a woman shake her finger at me saying that, “Studies have shown the importance of . . . .” something related to bedmaking. Pretty funny. We looked at Genesis 1 and I had not noticed this before, but the use of the word, “created.” It’s used in the first verse, (“God created the heavens and the earth”) but the following verses, God said, “Let there be . . .” until verse 27.
Three times the word created is used! God created humans in his image, in his image he created them, male and female he created them. God also rested on the sabbath from all the creating he had done.
I shared what we have been reading and learning about co-creating with God when we make our beds, cook a meal, do the laundry, prepare a lesson plan, study a new language. I would imagine this book is coming out in your conversations too. (And maybe people will even wag a finger at you too. Ha!)
I loved in Chapter 5 how Warren took a simple warmed up lunch of leftover soup and explored the topic of nourishment. When my oldest niece was around age 5, I noticed that most of her memories were tied to food. When we would ask her if she remembered a person, place, or experience, her answer always began with “Was that where I ate _______?” And sure enough, it was.
I remember saying to my sister, “Have you noticed that all of Emily’s memories are tied to food?” She hadn’t, and it stood out to me because food is not the primary way I tuck people, places, or experiences into my mind and turn them into memories. Sure enough, Emily has grown up to be a foodie with an impressive pallet. I have been at meals with her where she has commented, “Mom, I think this soup could use some more tarragon and it probably has a little too much salt and I’m wondering what adding some onion would do to the flavor?” This was my addition to the dinner conversation, “This soup is good.”
I am often grateful for the food I eat. I hate being hungry. Hate it! And I become cranky if I go too long without food. I enjoyed Warren’s thoughts on word and sacrament and the way they nourish our souls. “Word and sacrament sustain my life, and yet they often do not seem life changing. Quietly, even forgettably, they feed me.”
The line that stood out to me was “And with anonymity and ingratitude come injustice.” Wow. I am grateful for the food I eat. I am grateful for the way it nourishes me. I am often aware of the abundance I enjoy. But in the general sense, not in the specific. I am probably not as grateful as I think I am. And with that ingratitude comes injustice. I need to let the idea of nourishment and injustice do some work in me.
If food is the door to my niece’s memory and heart, conversation and ideas are mine. We all need nourishment, whether physical, relational, or spiritual.
Chapter 6 was another chapter that I basically highlighted everything. As I’m reviewing my notes on everyday peace, many thoughts jump out at me. I’ll share one direct quote and one idea I’ve been pondering.
“Ordinary love, anonymous and unnoticed as it is, is the substance of peace on earth, the currency of God’s grace in our daily life.”
I love this because the idea of peace on earth can be so large and overwhelming I don’t even know where to start. But peace like this is a pebble tossed out. If I show up in my ordinary life with ordinary love, peace begins to ripple out. The lady who I smile at, the person riding the bus with me, the family member in my home. Small wave of peace upon small wave. And their ordinary love is the currency of God’s grace in our daily life.
I understand the sentiment of “being a pacifist who yells at her husband.” However, I wondered about that mysterious line God draws between peacemaking and necessary endings. So, if you read this chapter and feel conflicted about a situation you are in that might call for peaceful separation of some sort, I thought of you.
A few questions for you, my fellow reader. Are your memories tied more to food or conversations (or something else)? How nourishing is the local food where you are? Did you grow up in a tradition that “passed the peace?” How did it form you. All this and more in the comments!
P.S. Here’s the reading schedule for Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life:
October 30: Chapters 5-6, November 6: Chapters 7-8, November 13: Chapter 9, November 20: Chapter 10, November 27: Chapter 11