Friday, October 15

Liturgy of the Home

Every church has a liturgy (oh yes, even "non-liturgical" ones).  We often think of liturgy as the written and shared words in the high church tradition; but liturgy is much broader than this.  It is the order given to worship and the observance of traditions when a community of faith gathers.  There are very few churches, if any, that have no order of worship (i.e. sing song, have scripture reading and share the word with a sermon is a typical liturgy) not to mention that churches always have traditions surrounding at least Christmas and Easter.

Just as every church has a liturgy, every home has a rhythm.  I like thinking of it as a liturgy - a way that we, together, go through our days worshipfully, recognizing the sacred in the daily tasks set before us and building traditions around the church year, other holidays (oh, I love groundhog cookies), and our own family's milestones.

A liturgy can be flexible and ever changing; it can be set and steeped in tradition. And probably, it should be all of these things. I am finding that the trick in finding our home's liturgy is figuring out when to be flexible and when to stick to routine. The goal is to find a rhythm that helps everyone to have realistic expectations and yet, no one feels overburdened by it. And, I'm finding this kind of rhythm is an art of the highest form!

Our family's rhythm a year ago was quite different than it is right now. The first year of a babe's life has to be flexible as their needs are ever-changing. The first few months of Rowan's life I was learning how the rhythm of our home could encompass the needs of one more person. This meant that we all had to adjust. And while I was most anxious over Jonah's adjustment; I think my own adjustment was perhaps the most difficult. The past year has been a struggle as the rhythm was continually shifting. There is a deeper peace now that reality is meeting expectations more often than not. It is good to learn to be flexible and deal with the ever changing; but, it is so much easier and so good to rest in an established rhythm. Hooray for a year without an infant. (Not that I don't want to have an infant again soon... I'm just glad for a wee break.)

Weekly Liturgy
The school year is upon us (Jim's seminars start this began last week as most British universities start after Michaelmas), we are getting more sleep (alleluia!!!!!), and we are all able to learn together in such fun ways. As this season begins, I desire a rhythm that gets us through our days where expectations are generally met and we are all thriving and learning together. I've enjoyed reading and hearing about others' rhythms lately (see here and here). And I've tried out some things suggested by others and a lot of it hasn't worked for us; but, along the way we've figured out what seems to work for now.

So, for this time, this is our daily liturgy

6 am - Daddy gets up with Rowan and Jonah and gives the baby some milk.

Around 7 we all gather at breakfast. We eat, drink the important cup of morning coffee, and Jim leaves for the office.

A little after 8 Rowan begins his nap and Jonah plays and often listens to audio books (oh how this boy loves Oz!) Mum does laundry, dishes, makes beds and tidies.

Around 9 Rowan wakes up, the boys have a quick snack and we head out for a nature walk (on hallowed hill or in the woods) or we go into town for Bible study, library or play groups. I want to be committed to getting out no matter what the weather, but we may do quicker walks and some circle time in the coldest days of winter.

We arrive home around noon and begin to work toward lunch and naps.

Quiet reigns in the house until 2 or so. The boys then emerge and I'm trying to have something for them to do at this point - music on for dancing, paints, play dough or crayons out and ready, a stack of books to look at together, perhaps another walk, a baking assignment, games out, or animals and blocks ready to make a zoo...

By 4:30 Daddy is home wrestling and playing with two excited boys and Mum is making dinner.

We eat around 5 and dinner has a ritual of its own with a candle, a sung blessing and lately a story told afterward. 
This is the telling of St. George and the dragon we did for several nights after Michaelmas.  We are currently going through the life of Moses.
Rowan has some milk and is off to bed around 6. Jonah tidies the toys and then goes to bed at 7.

After the boy's bedtimes, Mum and Daddy clean, wash dishes, and do other work and creative pursuits before watching the Daily show (yes, it is true, four days a week; we are fairly religious about it) and head to bed.

When I write it down like this it makes me feel quite organized, but I want to note again that this liturgy of ours is never perfect and is ever-changing to meet our daily needs.  It is a rhythm and not a regimen.  But this little liturgy gets us through the day for now and helps me to be intentional about worship, story telling and creative pursuits amidst meeting our needs.


Plain and Joyful Living said...

Thank you for sharing. This is a wonderful way to think about our daily rhythms.
Warm wishes, Tonya

The Egan Family said...

I'll be mentally chewing on this idea this week! So often it feels like life happens to me and I just try to keep up. I would love to be more intentional...or maybe more liturgical?! Lots of interesting thoughts.

Karin Ebertz said...

I've just discovered your blog! Thank you for sharing your family's rhythms/liturgy. Although my children are grown, this idea is something I would like to share with my congregation. Blessings to you, Karin