Liturgy of the Ordinary
Christianity Today Book of the Year
In the overlooked moments and routines of our day, we can become aware of God's presence in surprising ways. How do we embrace the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred?
Framed around one ordinary day, this book explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices, and habits that form us. Each chapter looks at something—making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys—that the author does every day. Drawing from the diversity of her life as a campus minister, Anglican priest, friend, wife, and mother, Tish Harrison Warren opens up a practical theology of the everyday. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship.
Come and discover the holiness of your every day.
"Sunday liturgy shapes our faith through its mix of prayers, songs, Scriptures, and sermons. We hear from and are shaped by God through these practices. Under Tish Harrison Warren's insightful gaze, our seemingly 'boring' daily routines become a liturgy of their own—calling us to confession and community, Scripture and Sabbath, baptism and embodiment. Some spiritual directors listen for God's invitations in our prayers. Tish discerns God's invitations in our everyday life. She reminds us that God intends to speak, to invite, and to transform us in every situation we find ourselves in. Tish confronts us with the reality that God will not be confined to 1.5 hours on a Sunday. She is the prophet and pastor that our churches desperately need. At least this harried working dad needs her voice. I am approaching the daily routines of housework and homemaking with my wife and kids with newfound expectation and hope."
"Sometimes the difference between drudgery and epiphany is just seeing things from the right angle, a frame that reframes everything, even the mundane. This marvelous little book is that certain slant of light that illuminates the everyday as an arena of sanctification, where the Spirit makes us holy in ways we might miss. You don't need more to do in a day, Warren shows. Instead, reframe the everyday as an extension of worship, and folding the laundry, washing dishes, and even commuting become habitations of the Spirit."
"This beautiful book will brush the dust from your dingy days and reveal the extraordinary that is to be found in the ordinary. No mundane daily task will be the same once these pages open your eyes to how the work of your hands reflects the ways of the Creator and the rhythms of eternity."
"In this moment in culture, when much feels complicated and shallow, Tish Harrison Warren offers a beautiful and life-giving narrative: a way toward the ordinary sacred. This book is gentle in its simplicity and rich in wisdom. I wish I had read it a decade ago."
"If Christianity is to retain its witness in our frenetic and fragmented age, it must take root not only in the thoughts and emotions but also in the daily lives and even bodies of those who call Christ Lord. Tish Harrison Warren has beautifully 'enfleshed' the concepts and doctrines of our faith into quotidian moments, showing how every hour of each day can become an occasion of grace and renewal. If you want to know how faith matters amid messy kitchens, unfinished manuscripts, marital spats, and unmade beds, Liturgy of the Ordinary will train your eyes to see holy beauty all around."
"Tish Harrison Warren is both a priest and a mother who changes poopy diapers. She embodies the high calling of the church and the high calling of the home and in those dual vocations has written a book of tremendous importance. Tish writes with candor, insight, and intelligence about the sacredness of quotidian living. The highest compliment I can offer is that her book inspired me to go back to my dirty sink and my screaming kids with a renewed sense of purpose."
"Tish Harrison Warren shows us what it looks like to be shaped and formed, in a book as down-to-earth and inviting as it is wise. I don't know of any book that's more winsome in commending a life lived in sync with the church calendar."
"Big gifts often come in small packages—sometimes even a plain cardboard box. Tish Harrison Warren has a talent for unpacking these gifts that God has placed all around us."
"With the writer's (and indeed the poet's) gift of slowing down and paying the best kind of attention, Tish Harrison Warren connects the moments of an ordinary day with the extraordinary pattern of classical Christian worship. . . . With its laugh-out-loud moments and moving descriptions of a life lived imperfectly but well, this is a great gift of a book—an ordinary book, in one way, but also not ordinary at all."
"God's life and kingdom surround us on every side. But how do we find this reality and derive our life from God's—like a branch does from the vine? In Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren reveals simple, grounded, and beautifully repetitive practices in the small things of our workaday lives and the rhythms of liturgy. Tish gets it. If you let her be your guide, you too will get it: a life in God in your everyday life."
"Liturgy of the Ordinary is a baptism of vision. Tish Harrison Warren warmly and wisely helps us find God in the strangest of places: standing at the sink, sitting in traffic, stooping to make a bed. As it turns out, our everyday habits are imbued with the holy possibility of becoming new people in Christ."
"From the photograph of a peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich on the cover, Tish Harrison Warren's debut work, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, signals that it's rooted in the quotidian, the humble humdrum of day-after-day existence. This is spiritual guidance for the bed-maker, the teeth-brusher, the traffic-snarled among us. This is one ordinary day turned inside out, its hallowed script revealed, liturgical underpinnings exposed. . . . She beautifully ties making the bed to the Creation story, to God's making beauty from chaos. . . . It's the nitty-gritty of daily work where Warren illuminates holiness. She writes of 'tiny theophanies,' church-bell moments, that jolt her—and us, her readers—to sacred attention. The purity of her vision, the clarity of her writing, makes effortless work of the notion that the small acts of our everydays are what shape us into the sacred vessels we are meant to be."
"Warren's message flies in the face of our culture's love of distraction and pursuit of extreme sensation. We would do well to slow down for a bit and hear her out. . . . Liturgy of the Ordinary isn't the first book written in praise of prosaic moments, and Warren's isn't the first voice to counsel slowing down. But Warren admirably explores these themes from both a theological and practical perspective. Her words can help us grasp what my grandfather learned through a lifetime of commonsense faith—and a lot of sweeping: The 'new life into which we're being baptized is lived out in days, hours, and minutes. God is forming us into a new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today.'"
"To live in the vision that Warren is offering—to find sacredness in the everyday practices of life—will require that we engage with these and other institutional realities in our midst. The small stuff, the daily habits—yes. And we must allow these small, daily habits to help us reimagine some of the big stuff—otherwise it will just be small enclaves of quotidian mysterylovers within the larger structures that inhibit us from receiving the gift of the ordinary from God's hand and being shaped to seek the good of others in this world."
"This book asks me to look at the ordinariness of my day with new eyes. It is not something to be skipped over in favor of some shining, imaginary future, in which I've magically acquired all the character and virtue I wish I saw in myself. Instead, by God's grace, the daily rhythm of life is the venue—the only venue—in which a recovering idealist can find the beauty and meaning that she seeks."
"In her debut, Anglican priest Warren shows readers how to turn the mundane and often frustrating aspects of daily life into a reflection on the sacred. Working her way through a typical day—her morning routine, busywork such as checking email, fights with her spouse—Warren seamlessly blends together lived realities with theological reflections. Her writing is lyrical and often humorous, and she has a gift for making theological concepts seem easy to understand and (perhaps most importantly) easy to live. Her struggles with coming to terms with the banality of daily life are instantly relatable; for example, she frets that she spends most days doing dishes instead of leading a revolution, or changing diapers instead of ministering to the poor in some far-off region of the world. But she reminds readers that while they 'can get drunk on talk of justification, ecclesiology, pneumatology, Christology, and eschatology . . . these big ideas are borne out—lived, believed, and enfleshed—in the small moments of our day, in the places, seasons, homes, and communities that compose our lives.'"
"If you take time to mull over and digest the feast that Warren offers, then attempt to implement these ideas, significant formation is bound to occur in your life. I am thrilled at what she has offered to the body of Messiah and eagerly anticipate the fruit this wisdom will bear."
"There is much in the evangelical church that appeals to the extraordinary or radical expression of faith. This book is a necessary corrective to this tendency by highlighting the importance of our everyday lives to our formation in Christ. In addition, it is one of the best books I’ve read addressing the question of [how] one could live out one’s faith in routine life on a micro level."
"Framed around one ordinary day, this book explores daily life through the lens of liturgy, small practices, and habits that form us. Each chapter looks at something author Tish Harrision Warren does in a day—making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys—and relates it to spiritual practice as well as to our Sunday worship."
"Christians often find it more comfortable to embrace the goodness, truth, and beauty of God in faith principles than to transfer the principles to practice. In reality, more time is spent in the ordinary than in the extraordinary. God is present with us in surprising ways through our daily routine, pointing us to his love, grace, and mercy. This book is an invitation to worship him in spirit and truth, each moment of every day."
"Liturgy of the Ordinary is simple without being reductionistic. It is beautiful without being excessive. It is theological without being heady. And it is orthodox without being pedantic. Walking her readers through a very ordinary day (brushing her teeth, making her bed, fighting with her husband), Warren highlights how all of life is liturgical. For a culture constantly in fear of missing out, Warren points to these sacred everyday rhythms as proof that we're right in the middle of what is happening, if only we’ll take note."
"This is an eminently readable and enjoyable book that draws you into high concept—namely, liturgy in everyday life—through great writing and infectious charm. Warren takes you through a single ordinary day, from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night, and manages to make connections to just about every important aspect of the Christian life. She is a gifted writer whose stories, rife with humor, teach you deeper things without ever making you feel like you’re being instructed."
"No matter which chapter you’re reading, it's hard not to suffer from writer envy. Liturgy of the Ordinary is a gracious, gospel-oriented, fantastically un-preachy invitation to be a more integrated believer. Warren takes the most basic components of everyday life and turns them inside out to reveal the extraordinary work of God. You don’t have to be liturgically minded to be helped by her thought, experience, and spiritual depth."
"This is a book that will touch every reader, leading us to develop the eyes to perceive and ears to detect God’s presence in every moment of life. A mysticism of the ordinary is the purest expression of faith."
Foreword by Andy Crouch
1. Waking: Baptism and Learning to Be Beloved
2. Making the Bed: Liturgy, Ritual, and What Forms a Life
3. Brushing Teeth: Standing, Kneeling, Bowing, and Living in a Body
4. Losing Keys: Confession and the Truth about Ourselves
5. Eating Leftovers: Word, Sacrament, and Overlooked Nourishment
6. Fighting with My Husband: Passing the Peace and the Everyday Work of Shalom
7. Checking Email: Blessing and Sending
8. Sitting in Traffic: Liturgical Time and an Unhurried God
9. Calling a Friend: Congregation and Community
10. Drinking Tea: Sanctuary and Savoring
11. Sleeping: Sabbath, Rest, and the Work of God
Discussion Questions and Practices