Liturgical setting: rhythm of existence

By Dave Henning / October 1, 2022

“As in any kind of liturgical setting, the rhythm of existence can turn into a cold, rote way of life.  Just as we can repeat real spiritual liturgies, such as catechisms, without the joy of their truth shaping us, we can also fall into an existence in which we might change our daily rhythms but our hearts, instead of growing to love for the spirit behind the life change, grow cold.”- Timothy D. Willard

Timothy Willard concludes Chapter 6 of The Beauty Chasers as he observes that to learn means ‘to walk a path.’  In addition, the French word for ‘formation’ means ‘training.’  Thus, in the field of spiritual formation we like to use words such as practices, disciplines, rhythms, or cadences.

Therefore, the author underscores, the footpaths of learning confront us with lasting heart transformation.  Because what we habitually do defines who we are.  As a result, we become what we love.

Furthermore, as British writer and fellow of Emmanuel College at Cambridge Robert Macfarlane reminds us, footpaths serve a greater purpose than getting us from point A to point B.  Also, he stresses, the art of walking teaches us.  And the phrase ‘to learn’ falls to us through etymology meaning ‘to follow or find a track.’  Hence, a footpath stretching out before us invites us to learn with each footstep.

But first we need to fall in love with Christ, cultivate intimacy with our Savior.  Three guidelines of this love come to Timothy’s mind.

 1.  Love for God begins with awareness.  Do your utmost, the author exhorts, to cut footpaths for your life that allow you to journey as a participant of God’s glory, love, and beauty.

 2.  Love for God begins with clear eyes and a perspective on who He is.  God’s goodness and beauty, power and glory, inspire reverence.  Hence, worship expresses our response of clear-eyed love and reverent awe for God.

3.  Love of God begins with a surrendered heart.  When your heart and soul love God, it’s inviting and even easy to submit to the rigors of spiritual discipline.  And the training of the will for worship.

Today’s question: What type of liturgical setting most shapes the joy of truth for you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Edges keep us curious”

About the author

Dave Henning

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