Last year I read a book for Lent entitled “Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices of Everyday Life,” by Tish Harrison Warren. In the book Tish speculates about the common act of “making your bed.”
“Specifically, it occurred to me that thousands, perhaps even millions, of adults make their beds — a shocking idea to me, because I almost never did. What is the point of making your bed if you are going to mess it up again in the evening?”
Tish took to Facebook and did an informal survey, asking who made their beds and how often. In her words, “a shocking number made their bed at night.” (Can you believe that?)
A typical morning for Tish was to wake up, grab her smartphone, and then check email, news, Facebook, and Twitter. Her morning smartphone ritual lasted about 5-10 minutes: “I’d look for all good things to come from glowing screens. Technology began to fill every moment in the day.”
So … for Lent one year … Tish decided to STOP waking up with her phone. She banished it from the bedroom and spent the first few minutes (after she made the bed) sitting in silence: “The first move I made was not that of a consumer, but that of a co-laborer with God … I’d read Scripture; I’d pray; I’d invite God into the day; I’d lay out my worries, my hopes, and my questions … but mostly I’d invite God into the day and just sit … Silent. Sort of listening. Sort of just sitting.”
WE ARE SHAPED EVERY DAY, WHETHER WE KNOW IT OR NOT, BY PRACTICES-RITUALS AND LITURGIES THAT MAKE US WHO WE ARE.
Changing her morning ritual helped Tish distinguish what was forming her in a life-giving way and what was malforming her — by stealing life and meaning. As Lent approaches this year, it is good to examine our ways and our days. It is in the ordinary moments that God meets us and transforms us. Simply “making our bed” can become a site of worship … the crucible of our spiritual formation.
The Rev. David Brian Smith is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Winfield.