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The Beauty of Liturgy

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 27, 2020 1:00 am

The Beauty of Liturgy

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 27, 2020 1:00 am

Author Douglas Kaine McKelvey shares how we can practice the presence of Christ through the use of liturgical prayers, not just in church, but in our homes. In his book, "Every Moment Holy," McKelvey offers liturgical prayers for all occasions, like going on a trip, stargazing, gardening, or moving into a new home. He tells why practicing the presence of God is always a good idea.

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We can have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives to have the sacred part over here and the secular part over here Doug McKelvey says that's not how we ought to think. I believe that all of life is consecrated and lived out under the gaze of God and under his sovereignty and that every moment is an invitation to grow in relationship to him. And so if that's true, let's look at some of the most mundane, menial, thankless tasks that we have to do and let's apply that promise to them. Let's look at it through the lens of scriptural truth. This is family like today.

Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine. Are there some mundane moments ahead for you today where you could pause just asked the question how can I find God in this moment and worship him here, we will explore that today with Doug McKelvey stay with us and welcome to family life today.

Thanks for joining us. One of our goals as moms and dads and really one of our goals for all of us as as believers in Christ is to I think of the phrase from brother Andrew to practice the presence of Christ in our lives and that that's an interesting phrase, practice the presence because we know God's with us always. But our awareness of his presence with us is something that ebbs and flows, and to the extent that we can remember the presence of Christ.

It helps us walk in the spirit. Don't you think it's acknowledging his presence and I think the practice the presence you have to stop. At least I do, you can run, run, run, rush rush rush even with a digital device in your hand it becomes something that just pulls your attention away and I think for me I have to pause.

It's like hit a button. Focus the mind focus the heart and pause and that's where were headed today.

That is really is forcing us to do that. Were talking this week about how we practice the presence as a family in our homes, how we make every moment holy.

That's the title of a book written by Doug McKelvey who is joining us on family life today again this week that welcome back to thank you directors for families or for individuals or did you have did you have groups in mind are people in mind when you wrote the book. Every moment holy. I hope that that ultimately it would be a book that could serve individuals, families, and married couples, church groups, but my secret hope was always that it would really resonate as a tool for families to incorporate into the rhythm of their daily lives, and I hoped that you know regardless of the particular family circumstances that there would be a number of the liturgies within the book that would just make sense to any given family as ones that they could incorporate in a natural way into the rhythm of their lives together, and the most exciting idea to me as I wrote the book was that maybe there would be kids who would begin to take ownership of of some of these liturgies that when the electricity goes off. It's the six-year-old who says hey can we do the liturgy for the loss of electricity.

Do remember writing your first liturgy and your family go through. I didn't write the first one for my family together and write it for. I wrote it for me over the circumstance of the circumstances were that I was working on a novel or I was supposed to be working on a novel and I had gone through two week dry spell. Just every day sitting down in the morning to try to write and just hitting a brick wall and then distracting myself with checking messages on social media or whatever it might be and eventually I just realized I need something I need something to center myself every time I sit down I need something that will reawaken my understanding that will restore my vision of who I am, in relation to my creator of who I am, in relation to the stewardship of my craft of whatever gift I've been given and of my relationship to those that I hope to serve. Ultimately, by what I'm writing so I thought okay I'm write a prayer I could pray and then I thought in a minute do it in a liturgical form just because there's an aesthetic beauty to that. But also I thought well maybe it if it turns out good. Maybe other people would want to use it.

So I wrote the liturgy for fiction writers, so that was the first one that I wrote well I was about to do a session with Andrew Peterson at a conference. We were to be speaking about storytelling. So I sent that liturgy for fiction writers to him and said, hey, it would this be a cool way to close the session and he responded and said yeah I love it, but man I wish I had a liturgy for beekeeping in the liturgy for and he he named a couple other things like that and that was the moment it was just an instantaneous when I said of course. Of course this isn't just about a liturgy for fiction writers is something to help me because I needed there is a real opportunity here to serve the body of Christ and to create prayers that would that would articulate the heart cries in the the desires and the needs over a vast spectrum of of life experiences that we have the mundane and the special ones yeah just reading one here when you tell me what it is like the liturgies for right. Obviously, you get to know Douglas, but these two rights. If you know I will take out the line that tells what you're it's a task you doing and we done this recently but it says heavenly father in such menial moments as this blank I would remember this truth. My unseen labors are not lost. For it is these repeated acts of small sacrifice that like bright, ragged patches are slowly being sewn into the quilt of lovingkindness that swaddled this child well so beautifully written.

By the way, when you got the swaddled budget.

So I'll tell I was thinking, clean the toilet but I was I was in the right ballpark right now. That's changing a diaper changing a diaper. I just read the first paragraph. I mean listen to this. So this little act of diapering, though, inform sometimes felt is based drudgery might be better described as one of 10,000 acts by which I am actively creating a culture of compassionate service and selfless love to shape the life of this family and this beloved child info, and trust me, I read the whole thing. Now it's so beautiful in its it does, it stops you to practice the presence of God and this is not how we think about dental cleaning toilets are now back window now so I get a chance to cylinder the quilt of file. You know the fabric in and shape a service mindset in the life of my child for generations to come. That's not how we think, but if we pause and go. There is something bigger here. Stop and think first Corinthians 6 so in everything you do. Whether it's eating or drinking back to the most mundane daily things we do, do all to the glory of God.

That's at the heart of whether it's diapering or beekeeping to pray without ceasing. As well, just that it's a way of staying in continual contact with God that Looking at us like guys I know this.

I know this I wrote when you said that until, okay, I'm gonna write a liturgy for changing a diaper.

There's got to be a part of you going this is just crazy to write a liturgy for changing a diaper.

I wouldn't describe that is my is my response to it because I think for me there. There was something in play here. That probably parallels something that is that I see as a refrain in my fiction writing as well, and that is what I'm writing fiction. Inevitably, I find myself going to a place where some very difficult things happen to the protagonist and for me it's a way of working out this question. This theology of okay if the things that I claim are true are true if the things Scripture says if the promises that are made in Scripture are true, then they have to be true in the very worst experience that I or any other human being might ever have.

So let's cut to the chase. Let's go right to those moments of of loss of grief of fear and try to work out in the context of the story how these things are actually true even in light of the most difficult of circumstances that we go through and so with every moment holy. I think there was us a similar kind of dynamic going on in that I'm saying okay. I believe that every moment is holy. I believe that all of life is consecrated and lived out under the gaze of God and under his sovereignty and that every moment is an invitation to grow in relationship to him to move deeper into that relationship.

And so if that's true, let's look at some of the most mundane, menial, thankless tasks that we have to do and let's apply that promise to them. Let's look at it through the lens of of scriptural truth and of where Scripture tells us history is going and of where our lives fit into that now and let's see if we can articulate a theology of how the act of changing a diaper actually is part of or can be part of the building of the kingdom of God. I'm thinking about my morning this morning so I took a shower above we really do. I did what you did. I put on my socks thought I didn't put my toenails but they need to and I I'm thinking, should I have had a liturgy for clipping my toenails are for taking a shower for putting on my socks at at at some level you go. This could expand the absurd. Where am I really supposed to think about clipping my toenails with a liturgy among I think when you introduced the show a few minutes ago and you were talking about practicing the presence of God. I think that's the heart of it. It's not an exercise in okay how many things can I create a liturgy for is an exercise in learning to think about every aspect of our lives in terms of God's presence and his purposes and his involvement and the way that he is constantly shaping us and drawing us right so I think that's the heart of it is practicing the presence of God or as as you explained that practicing our ongoing awareness of the presence of God lies I'm reading to do any status. 10 mundane things it's areas where we may feel insecure or fearful in looking at this minutes as a liturgy for those who feel awkward in social gatherings, thinking that anxiety how people are so filled with anxiety and depression today and I like that you're kind of addressing these things in your really good writer beautifully said in this one part. It says I know this about myself.

Learn in a room full of people I would rather retreat into a quiet corner and flip through the pages of the book and to step beyond the walls of myself to engage another person conversation, I think so many people feel that in safe put it into these beautiful words that are pleading with God guide entered into this with me and be my companion is my insecurity and anxiety may flare up. I need you right.

Like that beautiful just that my wife and I got to make a trip to Ireland a few weeks ago was the first time I'd been there. Most of the time we were in Northern Ireland because that's where my great-great-grandfather came to say good for a McKelvey, Ireland, and yet so I actually got to find in up a business there that still standing that my great great great great grandfather and grandmother founded wow, that was all it was a wonderful trip, but we have some good friends there and we stayed with them for several nights and their youngest daughter is really having a difficult time in school.

Just being kind of bullied by other girls and she is the sweetest kid but it's a difficult thing for her to go to school every day and her mom Heidi told me while we were there. She said you know a lot of nights my daughter will come to me with your book and will say mom can we please pray the prayer for those who feel awkward in social gatherings because for her it's helping her set the context of what she's about to walk into the next morning she's feeling anxiety the night before about these difficult relationships were where she's being picked on and snubbed, and she may not even be able to process or bring words to her feelings and it probably has helped her yeah I think so a minute, it moved me to tears when her mom told me that just to know that there is. There was something articulated there that is resonating with with her tender little heart and that is helping to shape her theology as she as she walks through this this difficult season and a hard situation. Are you seeing a return in this generation to liturgy. I made a more formal liturgy or Armani F, since it is a pastor in a church it's pretty content. I learned families returning millennial's agency seems to be, and again I don't know the if there's research on that. But it seems like people are longing for more liturgical services, then it 10 years ago.

I definitely see that and I'm no expert, I can tell you the reasons why. But yes it for whatever reason, there does. There does seem to be a hunger mom, I'll tell you I think the reason is there are two parallel truths about God that we have to hold intention. One truth is that he is high and holy and majestic and glorious and beyond us.

He is he is transcendent is the word the theologians would use the other truth is, he is near and he is our friend and he said he's our elder brother and he is as close as a friend. He is in us and with us, so he is high and holy and he's near about the more we lean into the direction of him being near. The more we start to lose the majesty of who God is, the more we lean in the direction of them being high and holy. We start to lose the sense that he is with us and near and we can we can commune with him and so understanding those intention is important in our Christian walk. As the church we have leaned hard over the last 50 years in the direction of the fact that God is near.

You can have a personal relations.

Out of about relationship yes and you can walk with Jesus every day, and he can be near and he can be your buddy and he can be with you in every moment trying and I think we've lost some of the rooted transcendent sense of who God is, that some of these more formal liturgy's bring us face-to-face with and so I think there's a hunger in the lives of a lot of people who have grown up in evangelicalism over the last 40 or 50 years to say I want to know the big God. I want to know the powerful to the Almighty God. The God who has been worshiped for centuries by our fathers and forefathers and they seem to maybe have a bigger view of him than we have.

There's book came up 2025 years ago called the trivialization of God that I remember reading and there there to quote in the book from Annie Dillard. She said I see people going to the spur for she said I see people going to church, wearing wearing Easter bonnets. She said we should be wearing crash helmets do we not realize who were about to come in contact with the we not realize what were walking into what we're walking into something that is with the into the presence of the Almighty yet. I've sense even in the younger generation at our church. They are longing for ministry and we spent decades trying to explain away the mystery and make God explainable in practical to suite your San Bob and yet their sertraline and incident. I just want to sit in the mystery. It's okay.

You don't have to explain everything in liturgy sort of does that list just worship a God that's other.

We don't need to know every nuance of this, so a listener who is intrigued by this conversation may be intrigued by your book, which, by the was a beautiful book has been to say that it's really beautiful. It looks like one of those little books that sit on your bookshelf that you put on display, and really beautifully done but but there thing I want just spend this money on a book to discuss it on the bookshelf right and then necklace it out and just read it cover to cover. So if if they're going to buy this.

How is this going to start to incorporate into their life or another families life. What would be your hope for.

We have been an easy no risk way to see what these liturgies are about so we have a website every moment and on that we have liturgies from the book that you can download formatted PDF copies of a lot of them. I think cost $0.99 but we always have some free ones up at the top and those will rotate out based on what we think might be of service to people at that time.

For instance, when it's around the Thanksgiving Christmas season. We will offer a liturgy for feasting with friends as a free one and we had thousands of people download that one to read together to pray together with their family and friends before they have the Thanksgiving feast or the Christmas feast. So there are always free liturgy downloads.

There's an you know you can check back every two or three months and some of them will of rotated out with with others. So your San sample this yes go to the website download on these liturgies see what the experience is like for you and then you might go. I'd like to do more of this right and get the book in and start diving into diaper changing with the liturgy better. The family and you have a favorite. They have memorized. I do not have any of the memorized. I do have some favorite when you go to most often yeah the fiction writing one is one that I go to frequently. Because nothing drives me to the to the end of myself like the act of trying to write whether it's trying to write a liturgy or trying to write and use of fiction or an essay I just so quickly hit the wall and realized apart from God somehow meeting me in the midst of my weakness in this process. I'm not going to be able to produce anything that's going to be of any real service to anyone else so that's continued to be a go to prayer for me will you have been a service to us and to our listeners just in having this conversation and in what you've written in the book, thanks for coming and being part of the conversation here.

Thanks so much for having the book we been talking about is Doug McKelvey's book. Every moment holy and I just want to get read through some of the but the topics that he's written liturgies for a liturgy for the sound of sirens when sirens going off in your neighborhood have a liturgy the liturgy for those who experience road rage liturgy for a moment of frustration at a child who you think parents might go to occasionally liturgies for table blessings throughout the week. Liturgies for leavings for fearing failure for the death of a dream for those who have done harm. We get copies of Doug's bit the person, family life, David Robbins is here and you have an opportunity to put this book to work my have the day we got it.

I took it home. As I understand, try one of these tonight like this is different. And so it was an easy choice which one when I scan to the table of contents like Oppenheim and have a chance to practice this when the title of it was a liturgy for a moment of frustration at a child I took out okay. I was to be some opportunity that for this was a sure enough as bedtime was being executed. We had one that started spiraling a bit. I stepped out of the room, which is not what I always do. I went to this I read it I prayed wisely was a really short liturgy and I just got a share about with you is so helpful. Let me not react in this moment, our Lord in the blindness of my own emotion. Rather, give me a fellow sinner wisdom to respond in grace, that would be a shepherd of my child's heart.

Seven. As I just reflected that and pray that back to God. It was so helpful that shape the rest the evening and the rest even actually didn't go that well it didn't like solve it, but it it made me respond in grace, mercy and truth to my kids in your heart.

At that moment. Now you had. I'm a fellow sinner. I need to shape his heart. I need to to stay on mission to not let my emotions overwhelm me and a book like this can be a tool for that. Thank you David that prompted the spirit being in charge of my responses that, yeah, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing that again. We have copies of Doug's book in the family life today resource Center. It's titled every moment holy. You can order it from us or call one 800 FL today to get your copy now quickly before we wrap up this week because this week has been all about giving thanks. We want to make sure we let you know how thankful we are for you as listeners and also how thankful we are for those of you who keep family life today on the air in this community be our podcast network, family life, mobile app, which is just recently been updated and those of you who are listing by telling Alexa to play family life today.

Thanks for connecting with us and thanks to all of you who make this program possible through your donations family life today is listener supported. Your donations make everything we do at family life possible and were grateful for that. In fact, if you're able to help with the donation today we'd like to express our thanks by sending you a set of Christmas tree ornaments. These are kid friendly ornaments designed to help your kids better understand whose birthday it is were celebrating in December. Each of these ornaments pictures a different aspect of who Jesus is.

So there's the lion of Judah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There's the true vine, there is the living water.

Each of these ornaments helps you unpack with your kids something different about who Jesus is and maybe you decide as a family to memorize the Scriptures associated with these verses as well during the Christmas season. We call this the 12 names of Christmas and this set of ornaments is our gift to you.

When you make a donation today to support the ministry of family life today you can do that or you can call one 800 FL today to make your donation and thanks in advance for your support. We appreciate you and we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you're able to celebrate with your church family this weekend, the first Sunday in Advent on Monday to talk about the Advent season and how we can think more biblically about the birth of Jesus.

David Mathis joins us for that. So I hope you can tune in as well. I don't think our engineer today.

Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Anna Wilson about the pain will see about Monday for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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