The church I grew up in was overbearingly liturgical. Granted, overbearing is a personal opinion but it is one I will defend. I know there are other churches with more rote or ritual, but for a small Nazarene church, we had a stagnant order of worship.
It wasn’t the most liturgical church on the face of the planet, but there was enough routine to be predictable. I could tell you when our worship leader would ask the congregation to stand, and when he would tell us “you may be seated" before either order was given. I knew when a certain pastor preached we would get a lesson in church history and Greek vocabulary. To this day, I can still recite the exact order of worship for both the Sunday morning and Sunday evening worship services – from the choir’s song to the closing prayer. I could still show you the spot our lead pastor would stand to greet people after the service. I can still identify which instruments were used in the morning services and who played the instruments. And I could still point out where the youth group sat, and who usually sat next to whom.
Don't get me wrong, these are people I dearly love. And anytime I’m in town, I stop by to visit. I’m not writing this to mock the church I grew up in but to make an observation. When you grow up in an environment like that, one of two things happen: you either cling to the ritual or run from it. I did the latter.
By the time I moved away from home, liturgy was the last thing I wanted. I associated with people who shunned repetition. I took a different route home from work everyday. I was drawn to non-liturgical churches. I craved disorder. I thrived in chaos.
It’s funny how things change. 10 years later, I still prefer non-liturgical churches. There is a certain order of worship at my church… but it’s more of a rough outline than a strict dictated guideline. I still find myself challenged and fascinated by people who are seeking out new things with a passion I wish I possessed. Yet, I’m tired of chaos. I find myself longing for a routine. My recent switch into a new department at work came with new stresses, but it came peppered with relief of a constant schedule - the first I've had a set schedule after four years of teaching. I am slowly developing my own routines and rituals… my own personal liturgy. Not doing anything in the morning until I see the weather forecast. My shortcut through the Albertsons parking lot while walking to work. My bedtime talks with Christian, tickle fights with Zu when I should be getting her into her jammies. All in pursuit of a liturgy I once avoided.
It’s funny how things change.