posts tagged with 'liturgy'

a prayer for the morning commute

God, you made the day and the night, the morning and the evening—I praise you for the wonders of creation. You made us, women and men in your image—I praise you for the strength and wisdom you have given us. You give us work to do—I praise you for work that is rewarding intellectually and financially.

God, please bless the world this morning: bless each person and their work and their journey to work this morning, and every morning.

Bless the walkers: give them a peaceful moment of quiet contemplation as they walk, and open their eyes to the beauty of your creation and the people around them. Help them feel unhurried and free from stress, and bring them to their workplace calm and refreshed and ready to begin the day.

Bless the cyclists: let them be attentive to the joy of using the greatest means of transportation ever devised, and free them from any feeling of hurry or competitiveness. Protect them from the dangers of distracted drivers and potholed streets, and bring them to their workplace safely, feeling fully alive and exhilarated after a lovely ride.

Bless those who ride buses or trains: give them a bubble of privacy and quiet space, even on the most crowded trains; at the same time, give them a feeling of connection and common humanity with everyone around them. Let each person fully enjoy the pause in their own effort to read, talk, text, or just let their mind drift—as the transit system runs perfectly and gets them to their workplace on time and ready to engage with the tasks of their day.

Bless those who choose to drive or need to drive. Fill them with them your peace, even in the most frustrating traffic. Help them to feel connected to the world outside their own car: to see other drivers and cyclists and pedestrians as humans that they can bless and wish well, rather than obstacles. Bring them safely to their destination, and touch them with a sense of your powerful love for them.

Bless all of us in our work of the day, and give us strength and courage to do it all again this evening.

In Jesus's name, Amen.


a good Friday

We didn't go to church this evening—instead we hosted our regular Friday evening small group, which is now a mix of churchy and non-churchy folks. That was a good call—we had a great full gathering—but I did feel a little disappointed to miss out on a lovely moving service at our church where, more and more, we're figuring out how to make things lovely and moving. We tried to make up for the lack by visiting the Stations of the Cross at Bethany House.

Me and the boys (plus one) in the monastary garden looking at a sign

cursory examination

Thanks Katie for inviting us, and for the picture above! Katie's church hosts an interpretive Stations every Good Friday, and we meant to go to that—only with the steady drizzle it was cancelled. So we just got the unlabeled illustrations (in very nice wood-carved semi-relief), but also had the place to ourselves. That was a fine trade-off for our rambunctious crew, who were more interested in statues and puddles than liturgy.

Zion kicking water in a giant puddle

holy water?

Still,we were all there, and they got the story; they know what's up. After the big boys had all run off I was looking at some of the pictures with Lijah, and asked him if he knew who that guy was. "It's Jesus," he told me. Yup. Then he went on, "Jesus dyin. Onna cross." Then I put him down so he could look at a tiny house and a fountain, and stamp in puddles deep enough to cover his boots.

Lijah looking at a fountain in the scraggely monastary garden

contemplating the depths

I think all in all it was a good balance of "holiness" and regular life. I wouldn't have bothered to write about the day at all—it's way past my bedtime!—except for an terrific blog post I came across while failing to do the work that was keeping my away from bed in the first place. It notes an interesting coincidence: "2016 brings a rare occurrence this coming Friday — the coinciding of two very solemn observances, one fixed, one moveable: the Feast of the Annunciation, and Good Friday."

Apparently it happens every once and a while; John Donne wrote a poem about it.

Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;

(There's lots more to the poem; read the rest of it at the link above). The post concludes with a celebration of the idea of liturgy, including the following:

It's a way of reading the Bible in dialogue with itself, with the ongoing tradition of which it is a part, and with the whole community of the faithful, out of which flashes of realization can emerge, sometimes slowly dawning on you, sometimes flashing out in startling clarity.

Yes. That's why, even when we skip church, we're always looking to let the liturgical spirit into our lives. I think we had a good Friday; I hope you did too!