I’m not a fan of responsive readings. They remind me of my 8 year-old-self, standing next to my parents in church reading words that sound old...like my parents.
Fast forward 35 years and I’m still not a fan of responsive readings because to me they seem forced and impersonal. Then this book came into my life: Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey from Rabbit Room Press.
Every Moment Holy started popping up on my newsfeed and I was curious, as well as hesitant. It was billed as a collection of “new liturgies for daily life.” As soon as I saw the word “liturgies,” I thought I was out. But the idea of every moment being a holy moment fits right in with nurturing faith at home and that’s what I’ve been working on with Faith Formation Ministries. So I ordered one. Little did I know what that purchase would do to me.
First, I learned that I'm a sucker for a beautiful book. The cover looks rich and formal and makes me feel smarter just knowing I own it. The feel of this book is soft and smooth and I just want to trace my fingers along the edges…(I’m guessing this is how Belle felt when the Beast gifted her his library in the castle).
Second, I love the fact that McKelvey wrote a liturgy for writing liturgies. That’s the first one in the book. And it’s beautiful. Right off the bat, I knew that every page following would bring beautiful word-pictures and profound truths about whatever daily routine he was writing about. I realized that I really do love words and how they play together, and how they can put simple profound truths into the mouths and minds of simple un-profound people like me.
Third, I learned that all ages need to be reminded of God’s daily presence, even when (and maybe even especially when) they are shared together in a holy moment of conversation about daily routines and occurrences—things like nightmares or eating a meal or going to bed or paying the bills or doing laundry.
Already, (I’ve only had it for a month) this book has afforded me some beautiful memories with my children. Some of them appreciate the words of the liturgies and some don’t, but the conversations we have had about the mundane things of life being important to God and filled with his presence have left me thankful and humble and have even reduced me to tears on occasion. As one reviewer of the book says, “These (liturgies) are ways of reminding us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose.”
So I recommend this book even if you don’t think you like flowery language or big words or responsive readings. For me, every page of this book is a reminder that every moment is an opportunity to feel God’s presence and his “sacred purpose” in my life. So if responsive readings give me the opportunity to share that with my kids, I’m all in. I want to be together with my family in the holy moments of our lives.