I do not make my bed. Most mornings I’m out of bed at 5am and getting ready for work. This is a full hour or more before my wife needs to wake for her work. It would make very little sense for me to attempt to make the bed with her still dead asleep in it. But making the bed is not Tish Warren’s point in chapter two of Liturgy of the Ordinary. Rather she puts forward a challenge, one that I have been growing more and more familiar with over the past few years. If what I do with my time shapes who I am, then why do I do the things that I do? I don’t mean this in the sense of “why do I do bad (can I say sinful here) things,” but rather, why do I fill my day up with so much that doesn’t build on this sense, so many of us wrote about in last week’s blog, that I am beloved by God?
To be a person who knows that they are beloved by God, means to live in a new way, a new life. But it is not a new life where one lives in rebellion, or opposition, from the world. That isn’t compelling. It doesn’t make sense. A new life requires a new way of living. This is the gospel. Jesus came to shows us the way to salvation, to healing and restoration. I’m convinced that Jesus did not come to create a group of people whose very existence is demarcated by being antagonistic toward the world.
Yes, Jesus was antagonistic to “the world,” (By world, I mean the Pharisees, Sadducees, the priest and scribes, and Rome) at times, but to say that that attitude is the foundation of the gospel would be missing the point of the gospel. Mark has Jesus say that he “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” John has Jesus pray that we would be one with each other and with God, as He is one with God. Being known by God, and knowing God, as Jesus did and does, was Christ’s hope for those who followed him. I believe that this is Christ’s hope and pray for us today.
We should live differently then. We shouldn’t live simply “better” lives. Nor should we live “holy” lives. As if living a life that is set apart from the world does anything for gospel in and of itself. I see Christ calling us into the world, not out of it. We are called to bring peace and reconciliation to all. To co-create with God, this renewed life that goes so far beyond ourselves, but incorporates all life, all of creation.
But I don’t know how to do this. Ironically enough, I identified the most with the study that showed that people would rather be electrocuted than to sit alone for fifteen minutes. I don’t know how to. I go into a panic. But my hope, my prayer, is to learn how to live this new life, this life of someone that is beloved by God. All I can do is to try and make small changes in my life. For Tish Warren, it began with making a bed and sitting in silence for a few minutes every day. I don’t know yet what it will be for me, but I am thankful that I can still come to the table that God has prepared for all of creation to enjoy. I am thankful for the community that I am surrounded by here in Portland and at VHUMC. Each day brings something new, a new beginning.