City Church will begin a series of blogs reflecting on Tish Harrison Warren's book, Liturgy of the Ordinary. Our strange times are the farthest thing from ordinary, but her book explores the transformation that happens in the daily, monotonous rhythms of our lives. As many of us feel stuck doing all of life at home, we remember how all of life is worship.
In these strange times, I have found comfort in reading John the Apostle. Not his accounts of strange creatures and odd visions that sound more like the Walking Dead or something from the Matrix, but the Gospel of John. John's account of the life of Jesus is apocalyptic in another sense—in John's same poetic language, his account of Jesus' life disrupts how I see the world, and in the person of Jesus, remakes creation.
Miles Davis said, "In music, silence is more important than sound." If that is true for people, think of what God can do. Think of what God has done. There were four hundred years of silence and then came the baby's cry with a host of angels. What a chorus.
This coming Sunday we will sing, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." The simple song full of complex emotions matches, in a way, what can be an emotionally complex time of year. We rejoice with songs and gifts and twinkling lights and warm, peppermint beverages. And we also long for Christ to come again and make the broken whole; the longing made all the more acute with the expectations that come with the lights and the peppermint.
Before the angels sang to announce to birth of the King Jesus, there were four hundred years of silence. The nation of Israel was no stranger to waiting, to looking, to longing for God to make the broken pieces whole. They had heard from the prophet Malachai that a Messiah would come. And then their history of God speaking was punctuated with four hundred years of silence.
King David writes in Psalm 16, "the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." The phrase brings justice to mind because it begs the question, what happens to those for whom literal boundary lines do not fall in pleasant places? I am not talking about the distribution of good things, but the ability to live as a person with dignity.