Deep Breath of Remember – Barnyard Liturgy (Part 2)

Through gospel-driven liturgy, our worship can calibrate our hearts.  Information won’t do that.  Christian worship is designed to bend our hearts back toward God.  We can’t think our way out of wrong desires.  Rather than being an expressive endeavor, God calling us to worship invites us into a space where He gets ahold of us and re-shapes our fundamental loves.  Historic Christian worship invites us into the gospel story anew.  We gather around the Word and the Table to re-inhabit the gospel which converts our imagination in ways we may not be aware of.  This spiritual transformation is our sanctification.

We’re image-bearers called to tend God’s flourishing world, much like from the story in Genesis 1.  Our liturgies within our work environments shape us.  They impart a vision of how we define the “good life.”  There are many rival liturgies trying to capture us with a picture of what we want to live toward.  We need new liturgies, new habits, new routines and rhythms to bridge the gap between what we think of as our “good life” and what we actually do.[1] http://trinitybozeman.org/sundays/sermons/?sermon_id=203

My work environment happens to be labor on a dairy.  As my love for God’s liturgy practiced on Sunday’s grows, and as I discover my qualification for responding to His call to worship is to feel my need for Him, I find that I profoundly feel that need the other days of the week.  So, welcome to my version of Barnyard Liturgy.   Like you, my work is partly satisfying, permeated with unexpected joys, and mostly a crucible for the shaping of my identity.  I share my stories with the hope that you will grow in awareness of your liturgies practiced in a cubicle, tending the kids, selling real estate, caring for the elderly, teaching at the University.  My hope is that we will grow toward having our identity shaped in God and God alone.

[1] These thoughts provided by James K. A. Smith, Christ and Culture Lectures, “You Are What You Love.”

Deep Breath of Remember (Part 1)

“Pssst, Hey you.”

Halfway to the milking parlor for a 2 AM shift, I stop and gaze up.  Constellations dazzle.

“Hey you, wanna worship?”

“Uh, it’s 2 AM.”

“I know, just checking if you want to worship.”

“Well, I guess so.  Hadn’t really thought about it, but I’m not exactly decked out in my Sunday best.”

“That’s OK.”

“Uh, alright, but it’s not just the muck on my boots and Wranglers, if you’re who I think you are, you know there’s a muck-filled heart in my chest right now.  Kinda disqualifies me, don’t you think?”

“Nope.  That’s what I’m looking for.”

“I gotta hunch I’m hearing the one that spoke that Milky Way over there into being.  Pretty compelling.  But, between you and me, I’m just a messed up, can’t stop sinning cow milker.”

“True, and your reputation as such extends beyond just me and you.”

“Gulp.”

“Take a deep breath.”

I inhale slowly and deeply.  My lungs fill with the biting cold, crisp and invigorating, high elevation Montana, winter night air.

“Now.  Remember!”

“OK, yes go ahead and exhale, but I want you to Remember.”

Unsure of what I was to remember, I waited inside of that brief, peaceful, blissful moment after exhale in which the compulsion to inhale hasn’t kicked in yet.  Something beautiful was going on.  Some sort of gentle movement, a barely perceivable shift, down so deep in my soul it seemed strange.

Gasp!  The urgent need for another breath kicked in.  I didn’t even know I needed it, but it happened with a jolt.  Turns out, I needed it.

I noticed for a short moment a beautiful rhythm.  Inhale life.  Exhale death.  Repeat.  I stumbled on to the liturgy of breathing.  Something initiated from beyond my choosing that is both mysterious and mundane.  Both stimulating and routine.  Whether conscious of it or not, a good thing to get invited into.

Welcome to the dairy.  Hope you like to hear stories.  Stories of Barnyard Liturgy.

Liturgy, like breathing, is less something you do than it is something done to you.  It’s God’s liturgy.  It’s gospel-driven.  He invites.  GOD CALLS US TO WORSHIP.   “Pssst, Hey you.”