Bedtime, College Football, and the Future of Sacred Margins

There a few things I know I can count on every night.

Every night when my three-year old is almost done brushing his teeth, he is going to come and say: Aaaaaaaah! And I will tell him to brush his top teeth really well one more time.

Every night when I will read books with him and lay down for one song. When I tell him I am going to leave, he will ask for one more minute. Then after the minute is up, he will ask for five more seconds. Then I will actually be able to get up and go.

I can also count on him absolutely needing these things to happen for the night to go well. They are his ritual, his way of making sense of bed time and being okay with something he is usually not too excited about. There is something within his still very fresh and innocent mind that longs for ritual.

Oddly enough, this same longing is one of the things I love about college football. I love showing up before the game to sing the songs, do the chants and celebrate something together with a group of people I may never actually meet. No matter how crazy the game or season may go we go through these practices which root us in something bigger than ourselves. It brings people from all over together to celebrate this one thing no matter where they find themselves outside of the stadium.

Perhaps you have felt some of these same longings in your life as well. While rituals have the potential to become old and stale, we all have this longing and desire to tap into a pattern and rhythm deeper and bigger than ourselves. We want to find ways to ground and center ourselves during the chaos of life. (We call this “Margins.”)

litcalpicOne of the ways the three of us do this in our spiritual lives is through the seasons of Advent and Lent. But Advent and Lent are the super-stars of a year-long ritual called the Liturgical calendar.

Now, we all come out of a faith tradition which has largely been suspect of rituals, liturgy, and the church calendar (We will have a FAQ page soon explaining some of these terms) – mostly out of fear that they are too Catholic or are practices which developed after the canon of Scripture and therefore should not be used (if you find yourself in this camp, please, please, please read this article). I was once even asked not to use words like “Advent” or “Lent” because of the uneasiness they caused.

But what we have found is we have a lot we can learn from our Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters about margins, ritual, and the rhythms of life. In practices of community prayer and the rhythms of the church calendar, we have found so much grace and hope and peace. But it often feels like very new and dangerous territory.

So as we discussed Sacred Margins and 2013 we decided we wanted to explore this further.

This is radically new and unfamiliar territory for us. Advent and Lent are very trendy in pop evangelical circles right now. People like the idea of talking about Jesus around Christmas and giving something up before Easter. But other than those two things, this is as far as a lot of people go with the Liturgical Calendar.

So we want to know what it would look like to live an entire year focusing on the different rhythms of the Church Year. What would it look like if the rhythms of God set our schedule and calendar rather than the school year or our work planner?

So for 2013, our format will be similar to what we did for Advent. Each week we will have some readings and prayers reflecting the current season. Then we will all be posting on how this is playing out in our lives. We will also be inviting guest-posters to reflect on these seasons as well.

Now, we recognize that people have been doing this for hundreds and hundreds of years, and many church groups do this on a regular basis. But for us, this is very new territory.

So if this is new territory for you, we invite you to join us.

We would love for you to enter into this journey with us. We would love for you to do the reflections with us, ask questions with us, be confused with us, and share your journey as well.

And for those of you who find this to be very new territory, this week we will all be posting on how the church calendar has changed how we approach life and why we think it is important. These aren’t just faddish, Christian hipster words we are trying to jump in on but not really understand. These are meaningful, beautiful, and deep practices that have impacted each of us personally.

And we are hungry for more. So we hope we can help bridge this gap between guys and girls like us who have no idea what any of this looks like in practice, and the rich and beautiful traditions which have been creating margins for Christians for hundreds and hundreds of years.

So we invite you to join us on this path of discovery and hope you will share some of your own journey as well.

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