Ecclesiastes 3 declares, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”
These last few months have felt like I have experienced practically all the ‘times’ mentioned in this chapter of Ecclesiastes! From new grandbabies being born to attending funerals of close family members, from times of great joy to heartbreaking sadness, from welcoming family members whom we have been separated from for far too long, to farewelling loved ones as they have travelled back to their homes far from ours, and from times of embracing to times of refraining from embracing!
A book that I have been reaching for through these “times’ is Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. The liturgies in this book (and there are over a hundred) have served as prayers in practicing mindfulness of the constant presence of God and have drawn me toward the greater recognition of the eternal echoes that reverberate in each moment of these “times.”
This book has given voice to prayers I did not know I needed to pray; prayers that cried out from within my situations and not just speaking to my current situations. Wendell Berry writes, “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” This book is a reminder that there are no unsacred moments: there are only sacred moments and moments we have forgotten are sacred. If this is true, then it is our duty to reclaim the sacredness of our lives, of life itself.
In the last five weeks, two of our daughters have given birth to sons. Exchanging texts messages with them late one night, I sensed that encouragement was needed to give meaning to this season that they are in. I sent them these lines from a liturgy for changing diapers 😊
in such menial moments as this-
the changing of a diaper –
I would remember this truth:
My unseen labours are not lost, for it is these
repeated acts of small sacrifice that –
like bright, ragged patches-
are slowly being sewn into a quilt of
lovingkindness that swaddles this child….
Open my eyes that I might see this act
for what it is from the fixed vantage of eternity,
O Lord –
how the changing of a diaper might sit upstream of the changing of a heart;
how the changing of a heart might
sit upstream of the changing of the world.
Doug’s robust theology together with artist Ned Bustard’s expressive imagery, will have me reaching for this book to help me reshape my thinking, recalibrate my compass and ignite my imagination and remind myself of the sacredness of all things in the good story being told by God, a story as His kingdom comes on earth, just as it is in heaven.
McKelvey, Douglas. Every Moment Holy (Vol 1) 2017. Rabbit Room Press.