I’m not a native speaker of liturgical language.
I grew up in a nondenominational church where I learned all about the Bible and where my faith was nurtured and strengthened. I’m deeply grateful for the theological education I received at church, at home, and at the Christian school I attended for many years.
When I was really small I remember thinking that George Washington was the President before Ronald Reagan. It’s true, yes, but a totally incomplete picture. As an adult, I realized that my understanding of my religious heritage was similarly lacking. I had a pretty thorough knowledge of the Bible and of the history of God’s people as it was told in the Old and New Testament. But I had no idea what had happened in the church in the 2000 years between the Apostle Paul and my parents.
After college, I began my teaching career and began dating the young seminary student who would become my husband. I was as mentally committed to my faith as I’d always been, but my spiritual life felt a bit dry and worn out. Although I would have been reluctant to admit it out loud, I felt bored with church and the Bible.
In 2005 Stephen and I got married and I took a job teaching fourth grade at a small classical Christian school. Every week I attended chapel, which was carefully designed to be time of ecumenical worship as well as instruction on Christian tradition. Although I was not the intended audience, the services stirred my soul and re-awakened my interest in my spiritual life. In this context, I was introduced to hymns, ancient prayers, church history, and the Christian calendar. Here were ways to express the gospel I’d always known and loved in new ways that appealed to my senses and my sensibilities.
I stayed at this school for five years, and toward the end of that time we also attended a more liturgical church on Sunday mornings, where we learned an “adult” version of many of the traditions I’d come to love at school. But within the span of a couple of years, Stephen accepted a job at a new church in another town, and I decided to quit teaching to stay home with our daughter.
Our new church was a nondenominational church like the one where I grew up. We loved it for its solid Biblical teaching, its gospel-centered community, and for the friendships we formed immediately. But I missed the liturgical culture we had left behind, and I wished there was a way for my daughter to grow up with some of the rhythms and traditions that had become meaningful to me.
In retrospect, this “culture shift” has been a great gift, because it’s challenged me to take responsibility for the spiritual culture of my own home in a way that I might not have otherwise. I realized that my children’s spiritual training does not (should not!) only happen in Sunday School, and that just because they won’t learn catechisms and creeds at church doesn’t mean I can’t teach them those things at home.
And so I began reading and learning and experimenting, and here we are.
Keep Reading: A Multisensory Liturgy