Out of The Ordinary
June 29, 2022 | Guest
A book review by Lindsey Lett, member of All Saints Dallas
Through Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren, we are welcomed into the everyday of the author’s life. She wakes up with her readers and begins the day, just as any other ordinary day. She threads us through the rhythm of her moments as she patterns various habits after the liturgical patterns of a Sunday service. Warren is seeking to live a beautifully ordinary life for Christ, days mended and marked by His love and witness. It is through Warren’s sunrise to sunset that we are reminded of the Ordinary (numbered) Time in our church calendar. This is a season that binds together the birth and death of Christ by exploring the life He lived and the hope of His return—a season to pattern the fabric of our own lives, after the well-crafted life of Christ’s own. Just as Warren explores how to grow and mature in her daily life, we too strive for growth and maturity in Ordinary Time.
This growth can only come by small, purposeful acts and assessments. We mature in our faith through honing our daily craft. In Ordinary Time, we are called to our Christian vocation of discipleship, to live out Christ to those around us. In Liturgy of the Ordinary, Warren is asking us to consider our worldly vocations through the lens and life of Christ in order that we might become more skilled in our specific daily habits.
For instance, Warren looks to her habit of screen time and notes, “Examining my daily liturgy as a liturgy—as something that both revealed and shaped what I love and worship—allowed me to realize that my daily practices were malforming me, making me less alive, less human, less able to give and receive love throughout my day.” Whether your vocation entails cooking, data entry, mechanical engineering, child care or creating sermons, we each have a craft we can practice and hone. Just as the Church grows in the world, Warren calls for our daily habits to grow where righteousness prevails, and to be reworked or edited out where the world has crept too far into our daily liturgies.
During Ordinary Time, the church celebrates the resurrection and awaits the coming of Christ. Warren opens her book with this very plea: to remember our resurrection with Christ through our baptism and to daily thread this truth through the careful stitch of each ordinary task. Warren states, “We are marked from our first waking moment by an identity that is given to us by grace: an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day.”
As you read each chapter, Liturgy of the Ordinary begins to reveal the intentionality we are called to in that identity, that vocation. We do this by applying the pattern of Christ to the messy fabric of our lives. Warren shows us how we can rip apart the torn seams to stitch them together anew, with care and Christ at the center of our personal liturgies. Ordinary Time in the church calendar is used to stitch together the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Likewise, we bind together the ordinary moments of our days, weeks and months to craft a testimony of Christ-centered lives.
Just as the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered, so are our days here on Earth. Let us tailor our routines and rituals to the glory of God. Let us allow our habits to shape our desires and pray our desires sew in us a seed of spiritual growth. If we are faithful, in each small embroidery, God is faithful to provide. He will clothe us in garments of righteousness, strength, dignity and salvation.
There is so much encouragement and insight to glean from Tish Harrison Warren’s exploration of “sacred practices in everyday life,” from the holy act of brushing her teeth, to the sacramental power of leftover taco soup, to the practice of enjoying a hot mug of tea. As we press further into Ordinary Time, consider including Liturgy of the Ordinary in your pattern. For now, let us draw the thread of prayer through our ordinary lives as we pray Proper 14 collect in this season:
“Grant us, O Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Lindsey Lett is an unfurling daughter of God, fortunate wife of Taylor, and fulfilled stay-home mom to five fantastic kids. She is constantly pursuing artistic expressions, writing being one of the great many.