Why I Believe in Everyday Liturgy
The cold bites, angry and cornered, as the car door first creaks and then slams.
Backing out of the driveway, I slip off my gloves in full rebellion against the cold that stretches my skin to the point of breakage and bleeding. The sun is ever-present, rising as it does every day but this day the clouds are absent and we see each other - the sun and I - just as we are.
I could probably drive the daily route with a blindfold on - a left, a right at the light, straight and right to the office. The predicability is a gift, because then in the silence and cold of the morning ride, I turn my thoughts to God. Not always with laser clarity, not always with complete focus, but with the hope of encounter I turn my words and thoughts to Him.
As I pass the junior high...
Come Lord Jesus.
As I pass the dry cleaners and the funeral home...
O Lord, Come to my assistance. O God, make haste to help me.
Even with a stop to drop off books at the library the liturgy continues - like a special season or holy day it is a blessed addition, not an interruption.
As I clip through the intersections passing burger joints and banks, industrial complexes and health care clinics...
Come Holy Spirit, be my guide.
Even the other drivers, sequestered in their steel and plastic right beside me, become icons. They become images of the invisible God, created in Christ Jesus and with the spark of the wild-eyed Nazarene carpenter flickering just behind their outward presentation.
May I see You in every person I meet today.
Stop at a red light. Prayer then becomes a mental scavenger hunt as images - faces, situations, crises - come screaming to mind. For riots in cities I know well, for people on life support whose families I love well, for the homes along the road where inside there is abuse and scandal and betrayal and neglect, I pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
Forgive us father, we are clueless. We have no wisdom of our own, regardless of what we're trying to sell everyone else.
The speed limit changes, deceleration comes (though probably not as quickly as it should) and my mind begins to settle towards the work of the day. Meetings, conversations, celebrations and possible conflict - all are part of the liturgy, the order of my days in this life with God - and I shift from the portable cell to the public world. From retreat to advance, from solely worshiping to work as worship, from inward to outward - I step through the doors and into the air I've breathed on every day of every week for the past 5 years.
This is liturgy - leitourgia, the "work of the people" - and it is comfortable and life-giving if we allow it to be.
The laptop opens and the glow draws my focus to emails that need to be answered. People stop by for conversations and check-ins, laughter is shared and plans are made. The work of the people, the work of God left for us to do in the world, and it all begins with the opening door and the cold of the car.
Come Lord Jesus. Come.
What is your "everyday liturgy"? Where can you meet God in the automatic moments of your everyday life this week?