Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Perspective on Time

I wasn't raised in a religious tradition that paid much attention to the liturgy or a Christian approach to ordering time. However, in recent years I've begun to try and get caught up on what I missed. Now that I am free of the mixed blessing of assigned reading, I am planning on doing some more reading in this area and thinking out loud about Christian time. This space offers a great place to do that. If you have something to contribute, I'd love to get your input, especially if you were raised in this tradition and have an intuitive understanding of it. So feel free to jump in.

I'm ordering my thoughts along two primary axes. First, I want to learn more about the practice of observing and ordering time from a Christian perspective, especially with regard to the cycle of the day, the week, and the year. The second is the biblical/theological underpinning for such practice. My motivation stems from an appreciation of the Christ-centered focus the observance brings to daily life; the community that is implied in an observance that is shared by those members of the body of Christ from whom I am separated by time and geography; and the growth in my understanding of the new life in Christ that is taught implicitly through the rites of the liturgy, especially as it is observed in the Morning, Evening, and Compline Rites as well as the Lectionary.

My primary text for this journey is the Book of Common Prayer. I am using the 1979 edition as it seems to be the most common edition in use today. However, as my study advances, including my study of the history of the prayer book, the previous editions and the editorial work that separates them, will likely be useful to my study.

I have also moderately studied the Orthodox faith and especially with regard to their daily cycle, will take occasional excursions into the rich history of that faith in order to maintain some historical and cultural perspective.

I hope as I find myself satiated not only to have grown personally in my understanding of the Christian observance of time and in my own spiritual life, but also to be able to provide those in the Baptist context in which I minister another means by which to experience relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. Hopefully by encouraging them to adopt or incorporate certain elements of the Christian observance of time they will discover that God is not merely the God of their Sundays, but of every one of their moments, even as he has been since he ordered their procession.

So I invite you to join me either as teacher or as fellow student. I welcome warnings of pending pitfalls as well as recommendations for library enlargement. We have nothing but time.

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