A friend gave me the book, Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren. It’s a delightful little book that jumps from everyday experiences to reflective truth. Last night we read chapter 8, Sitting in Traffic. The author finds herself sitting with three little kids in the middle of a traffic jam, so wanting to get home, so wanting space to unwind, so wanting… Waiting is so hard and she feels the tension in the car climbing. It reminded me of some of the challenges of feeling caught in a traffic jam of Covid-19, closed in our homes away from … Of course we have cell phones, zoom, internet but it just isn’t the same. We are waiting… for the ban to lift, for Easter, for news from loved ones. Waiting.
Warren reflects on time. Our January-December calendar tracks our daily life. Tells us when we can start socializing. But in the background of our lives, the liturgical calendar ticks. It starts near the beginning of December with Advent season that builds to Christmas, climaxes in Easter Sunday and then continues on to the Easter season and Pentecost. The liturgical calendar tracks God’s story, not human history – New Year’s, Valentines, Independence, Harvest, Christmas. It removes me from center stage. We Christians have an alternative chronology impacting our lives, focusing us on God.
In the church calendar, there is always space for waiting e.g. Advent precedes Christmas, Lent precedes Easter. We wait and prepare. She comments that time is a “gift,” not “a commodity that I control, manage, or consume (p.108)” It prepares us for a future we will live into and gives us tools like repentance for dealing with a past that may have been disappointing. The future we hope for gives direction to the present that is so “broken.” We learn patience. Let me quote her as she ends the chapter, “The liturgical calendar reminds us that we are people who live by a different story. And not just by a story, but in a story, God is redeeming all things, and our lives. (p.113” We are going somewhere.
So I ask myself, how is my patience today as I wait during this Holy Week that must be celebrated electronically and away from my faith community? Lord, help me as I wait, to see time as a gift, preparing me to celebrate with You and your family.