Tish Harrison Warren
Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
IVP, Downer Grove, Illinois, 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0830846238

Liturgy of the Ordinary

 

"There's some great reflections in here on how our work, no matter what it is, is part of our life in God, the importance of living in the community of the church, the role of confession in addressing our daily failures and shortcomings as well as what Christian worship is really about."

While many Christians are encouraged to keep seeking those mountain-top experiences with God, this book is about finding God in the often mundane everyday activities of our daily lives. 

Tish Harrison Warren, drawing on her experiences as an Anglican priest, a wife and mother and friend, writes about the course of a single day in her life, pausing along the way to reflect on different aspects of her life and how they impact her faith. 

"I like big ideas," she explains in the first chapter. "I can get drunk on talk of justification,ecclesiology, pneumatology, Christology and eschatology. But these big ideas are borne out  - lived, believed, and enfleshed - in the small moments of our day, in the places, seasons, homes and communities that compose our lives."

Chapters look at the "ritual" of making the bed and how our days are driven by habit, learning to treasure the amount of time we must spend caring for our bodies, how we deal with the "truth about ourselves" when things don't go to plan - like losing your keys, the importance of sleep and food and those moments when we're able to simply be and not do.

There's some great reflections in here on how our work, no matter what it is, is part of our life in God, the importance of living in the community of the church, the role of confession in addressing our daily failures and shortcomings as well as what Christian worship is really about.

Writing about the latter, Warran says evangelicals, in particular, have inherited a faith characterised by a market-driven approach which at its roots emphasised "intense or ecstatic religious experience".

"Instead of the focus of worship being that which nourishes us, namely Word and sacrament, the focus became that which sells: excitement, adventure, a sizzling or shocking experience spiritual experience," she writes. "An individual's own experience of worship, a subjective notion of his or her encounter with God, became the centrepiece of the Christian life."

While powerful spiritual experiences are a gift, Warren says that "cannot be the point of Christian spirituality, any more than the unforgettable pappardelle pasta dish I ate years ago at Boston's North End is the point of eating".

At the end of the book are some questions for personal or group reflection on each chapter as well as some "practices" to help you enrich your daily life in God.

At only 150 or so pages, this is a short book. But it's a refreshing and deep well to drink from.