I am, frankly, always looking for a better framework to guide me through the days of my life. Because everything I do is freelance at this point, I don’t have the regular boundaries of an office and a work schedule, and, well, sometimes that is a problem for me–particularly when the days are cold and and the darkness comes early. And, I’m certain that this lack of framework would come as a suprise for some who know me, because, well, when the task is clear and something needs to be completed, there are few as motivated and disciplined as I am.
But that is why I’m always on the look for a “system” for my life, something that will feel natural and easy, but yet will give form and guidance to my days. So, imagine my excitement when I came to the Calvary Baptist Church and began to learn about the lectionary text cycle and its companion, the liturgical year.
Yes, you read that correctly. I learned about the liturgical year at a Baptist church. We are, after all, as proclaimed in our motto, a “different kind of Baptist.”
And so, when, while looking for more books to satisfy my particularly nerdish church geek nature, I encountered a book by Sr. Joan Chittister titled The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, well, you can only guess how quickly I downloaded it onto my Kindle. And, while it has perhaps not yet revealed the kind of how-to secrets for which I hoped, Sr. Joan’s writing has served to inspire me to consider adopting an even more careful sense of intentionality toward lectionary study and the liturgical seasons than I have even now. Her point: we mark the passage of our lives with all types of years — birth years, calendar years, school years, work years, years of tragedy. But perhaps the type of year that does the most to lift us from total self-focus to a listening for the divine call is the liturgical year.
Here are some of my favorite passages so far:
The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune
the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ.
The liturgical year is the arena whereour life and the life of Jesus intersect.
Because Jesus lived the very life we live, He identified with the eternal worth
and lasting import of every single one of us.
First, the liturgical year reminds us as the church what kind of a community
we are meant to be. … Second, the liturgical year implants within
each of us individually the reprise of those moments that are the substance of faith.
Intent on living a spiritual life that matters rather than a spiritual fad
that fascinates or a spiritual program that anesthetizes the soul
to everything but the self, we find out in the liturgy what makes life matter
by following Jesus through every element of it.
I find peace in these words. Thank you, Sr. Joan.