Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Liturgy of the ordinary - a brief review

I recently finished Tish Harrison Warren's splendid little book "Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life." I discovered this book through the Renovare book club, and I really enjoyed it. The best description is actually right from the back cover:
"In overlooked moments and routines, we can become aware of God's presence in surprising ways. How do we embrace the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred?

Each chapter in this book looks at something that the author does during the day - making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys, [etc.]. Life is viewed through the lens of liturgy - small practices and habits that form us. Drawing from the diversity of her life as campus minister, Anglican priest, friend, wife, and mother, Tish Harrison Warren opens up a practical theology of the everyday. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship. Come and discover the holiness of your every day."

To offer a fair critique of the book I should point out that this is not heavy reading. It's light and joyful with humor sprinkled throughout. It is not an academic book and it's not about 'the church,' but if one allows, it can open up for you fresh encounters with the Spirit in the very heart of your soul.

I think this would be a good book to read with a group - whether that be a small group of friends, a Sunday School class, or whatever. There are both study questions and "Suggested Practices" for each chapter. I honestly wasn't overly fond of some of the questions, but I like the idea nonetheless. If I were a pastor I might use this book for a study, or maybe even a preaching tool.

As you may know, I don't really like to "recommend" books or movies. I don't know enough to know if something is truly good or not, but I really liked the book. It may even be one of those that I re-visit from time to time. It makes me smile when I think about it. :)

My favorite chapter was probably #3. The title and subtitle are: "Brushing Teeth: Standing, Kneeling, Bowing, and Living in a Body." It's on the importance of embodied holiness. Faith and worship are not just things done in the mind, but God has given us bodies, and it's important that we use our bodies to worship and enjoy God and His creation - as opposed to worshiping or neglecting our bodies.

So, from the peanut butter and jelly on the cover, to the rhythms suggested, I liked not only the contrast of earthy to spiritual, but the connection between them as well.