Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What is the liturgy of your life?

Within the past year, the pastor of my church encouraged me to have a formal 'date night' with my wife each week.  This was a pipe dream for my wife and I for several years, and we never implemented this idea because of three young children below the age of 9.  Baby sitters are hard to find and expensive, kids require constant attention and soccer commitments.  It is hard to carve out time for a "date night" because of the ever pressing needs of our kids and money commitments. Yet his excellent suggestion directed us to have a "date night" at our dining room table at home.  Now each week, we put the kids in the basement with their favorite video and a bowl of popcorn, and my wife and I enjoy a candle lit dinner with a store bought dessert and peace and quiet together for a couple of hours.  In a planned and formal way, it is a practice that cultivates love and relationship in our marriage that we both look forward to and cherish.  You could say that this is one of our life "liturgys".  A liturgy is a habit or practice that cultivates your love for something.

James Smith in his book, "You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit", begins his book by asking the question, "What do you really want?"  In the deep recesses of your heart, what is your deepest longing and desire? Is it comfort?  Is it the stability that money brings?  Is it the love and respect of others?  Smith makes the point that our check books and personal calendar reflect the deepest love and longing of our hearts.

Love is a choice that is either cultivated or neglected.  Love is either protected or neglected.  Love "takes practice".  In many often unintentional ways, we built our lives around what we truly love.  The unspoken "liturgy" of our lives cultivates and deepens around some central idea.  The book challenges us to build routines and habits in our life that cultivates a deeper love for God.

It also exposes the emptiness of our rituals.  Are we worshipping and spending time with God because we desire more of Him, or because we want more of what he gives.  You can say "you are what you worship", but also say "you are what you love".  The question is, am I building my life habits on what I say is my greatest love?

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