The holiday season passed with a flurry of shredded wrapping paper, sugar comas, and age-old family traditions. A shiny new year with infinite possibilities and opportunities is spread before us like a banquet. A whole new year, when we can finally do all those things we promise ourselves we are going to do each and every new year, for which we never manage to find the time, of course.
I’m not one of those folks who puts together yearly resolutions I intend to follow through with. It’s simply not my nature. There are times that I do envy those who think that way, but those moments are rare. I enjoy the days as they come, knowing that each day is similar to the last. I have my morning ritual: start the kettle, grind the coffee, fill the French press, wait four minutes then call out “Plunger Boy!” My five-year-old son’s morning is thrown completely out of whack if he doesn’t push the plunger on the French press. Then I go to my office and read the news. All of us have similar rituals, even if they aren’t coffee related.
At the core of what it means to be human is an inherent desire to have order and intentionality in our lives. That isn’t to say that there’s not beauty and even intoxicating joy in the unexpected and the impromptu at times, but those exceptions are special because of the routine into which they interject themselves.
A few months ago I picked up the book Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey, illustrated by Ned Bustard. Let me be honest: I had been eagerly looking forward to this book for quite a while. It is a collection of liturgies for everyday life. It includes liturgies for ‘the Paying of Bills,’ ‘Waiting in Line,’ ‘the Planting of Flowers,’ and perhaps most importantly, ‘the Ritual of Morning Coffee.’ This collection has become one of my prized possessions.
I know not everyone is comfortable with the idea of liturgy, or with communal prayers that are not extemporaneous in nature. I completely understand that sentiment, but I want to assuage those fears. Sometimes, when others are praying in a group, I want to amend what the speaker is praying, for example. ‘Maybe not exactly that, God,’ I might add silently.
McKelvey provides us with a context and a framework to build out our own daily rituals and routines. He has put together liturgies to order everyday moments: both asking God to come near and providing a space to recognize when He does.
I cannot say how blessed my family has been by reading and sharing in this book over the last few months. During church gatherings and big family meals we have had the opportunity to pray through these liturgies with our community, and we are all better for it.
If you have ever found yourself straining for what to say or what to pray, when you know there is some deep longing, or sorrow, or joy that needs to be voiced, but you don’t know how to put it into words; that is when you can join my family and pull this book off the shelf.
I want to offer up every minute, every moment of my life to the Lord as a time of worship. I know I fail most of the time, but this book has helped my family not only to take note of those smaller moments specifically mentioned, but to recognize other moments and events in our lives in which we ought to praise or petition God.
A Liturgy for the Ritual of Morning Coffee Meet me, O Christ, in the stillness of morning, Move me, O Spirit, to quiet my heart Mend me, O Father, from yesterday’s harms. From the discords of yesterday, resurrect my peace. From the discouragements of yesterday, resurrect my hope. From the weariness of Yesterday, resurrect my strength. From the doubts of yesterday, resurrect my faith, From the wounds of yesterday, resurrect my love. Let me enter this new day, aware of my need, and awake To your grace, O Lord. Amen.
Every Moment Holy is available now from Rabbit Room Press.