Missing the link

Today’s cup of tea is steeping a little longer than usual, mostly because I have about 50 scattered things running through my head right now. What I thought I might write about I’ve since abandoned for another day. So grab a cup of whatever you like to drink and bear with me. I’ll try to keep things on track.

I’ve been singing the kids to sleep at night using a hymnal from my husband’s side of the family. His grandmother’s, maybe. (Yeah, I’m a terrible wife for not knowing these things, right?) Our son calls it, and every other book with music in it, the singing bible. It’s a nightly ritual that one of the children grabs the “singing bible” and finds a spot for it in their bedroom while they settle in to bed.

Although this book is filled with songs, I have a few favorites, mostly because I know the tunes without music and I can lull the kids to sleep with them. One is “All Creatures of Our God and King.” (Maybe you know it. If not, check out this version. EXACTLY the same as me singing to the kids.  Almost.)

In the hymnal, the song is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic friar during the early 13th century. We had a modern version of that song play at our wedding in the early 21st century and I sing it to my kids. How cool is that?

It got me thinking about the ties that bind us to the past and the role we play in linking the past with the future. The songs we sing, the stories we tell, the Bible we read … they’ve been passed on for generations. And we bear a responsibility to pass them on as well.

We learned about liturgy in Sunday School this week. In some Protestant circles, “liturgy” is almost a dirty word. But the beauty of it is the passing on of tradition, the retelling of the story of Christ, and the participation in something bigger than what you can see.

Last fall, my husband and I took a trip to Colorado for my cousin’s wedding. One day, we visited the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Breathtaking. Like just about everything else in Colorado. But don’t get me started.

As we were walking through the visitor center, I heard a documentary playing, and one of the musicians who had played at Red Rocks said something to the effect that playing there was like being part of something bigger than yourself. Because of the history. And the legendariness (is that even a word?) of it. Because of those who had played there before. Because of the community you join by having played Red Rocks.

That resonated with me at the time because it was so spiritual in nature. Even though he was talking about a man-made entertainment venue, there was value to him in being part of something bigger than himself.

How easily we lose sight of that. If life is all about the here and now, and just my life, then it doesn’t matter what I do, how I do it, or if I continue to live.

But if my life is about the past, present and future, about joining an ongoing story in all of humanity, then what I do matters, how I do it matters, and most importantly, I matter.

I am who I am today not only because of decisions I made about my life but because of decisions other people made about their lives and my life. And even if I don’t agree with or like those decisions, I can make a change for the future by the decisions I make in my life now and in my kids’ lives.

I’m saddened to think that people live their lives for themselves without acknowledging the past or considering the future.

When it comes to church, I’m realizing that I’ve had an “it’s all about me” attitude. I’ve discarded tradition because I’ve thought it stuffy or boring while embracing the contemporary for its newness and liveliness. I’m learning that both are important, and I’m intrigued by the ancient-future worship movement.

Anyway, that’s what has me thinking today. Thanks for listening in, and feel free to add your thoughts.

Hope you’re enjoying a hot or cold cup of something delicious!

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