The people at InterVarsity Press surprised me with a small package in last week’s mail: a copy of Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren. An attractive looking book that didn’t appear to be too complicated to read. What on earth compelled them to send this to me, I thought? Do I really want to read this? I have so many books by Orthodox writers to read, do I have time to spend reading this?
I came home late that evening – after a church board meeting of all things – and decided to leaf through it. The Foreword by Andy Crouch was good but not too convincing.
I decided to read the first chapter. It was late, but I continued on to the second and then read the first half of chapter three, decided to go to sleep….But then decided to just finish that chapter as well.
What a delightful book!! It’s literally hard to put down. Simple, straightforward; ordinary, for lack of a better word. Her prose is poetic. She reveals the eternal Christian truths in the ordinary things of everyday life. She writes at one place, “If the church doesn’t teach us what are bodies are for, our culture certainly will”. She was talking about how our bodies are “integral to our worship”, how as Christians we “believe in a God who, by becoming human, embraced human embodiment in fullness…”. And all this – and much, much more – started from the simple act of brushing her teeth.
That’s how this book is structured: she wakes up, makes her bed, brushes her teeth, checks her email….etc.etc. An ordinary day in her life – everyone’s life – and in the most ordinary things she digs deep to discover and reveal to us, the reader, just how great God is.
This might be one of the rare cases of a book I’d happily gift to fellow Orthodox by a non-Orthodox writer. It’s that good.