a liturgy for husband & wife at close of day

Happy two-year anniversary to my dear husband. Here’s a beautiful liturgy we prayed last night:

___________

Husband: At death we will part.

Wife: Therefore let us not take the blessing of our life together for granted.

 

Silence is kept as both spouses consider for a moment the gravity of this truth.

 

Husband: May our hearts be ever drawn towards You, O Lord

In whose three-personed perfection of love

Burns the fire that would kindle also our two-personed imperfection

Into a oneness that is warmed and forged of your holy flames,

Wife: A thing that is both an echo and seed and a play upon a stage

Portraying the promise of union with Christ that is to come.

 

Together: We are unworthy players, O Lord, unworthy to portray your glory.

We are weak. We are jealous. We are easily wounded.

We are petty. We are embittered. We store up remembrances of wounds.

We are insecure.

We hurt one another.

We do not deal with our conflicts well.

We fail to love as you have loved.

Forgive us even the failures of this day.

 

Silence is kept. If either husband or wife has need to make amends, they may do so now.

 

Husband: I am not strong enough in my own strength to be husband to you.

Wife: And I am not strong enough in my own strength to be wife to you.

Together: Let us turn to God together then, asking the strength that we need.

 

Husband and wife take hands.

 

Together: Give us therefore the strength that comes from the grace that flows from your heart alone, O God, that we might live and move and breathe in air of that grace, receiving it in ourselves, and then offering it daily to one another. Without grace, our marriage will wither as a vine unrooted. But sustained by your grace, it will ever flourish and bloom and flower and fruit.

 

Husband: Forgive us our failures and our sins against one another and against our marriage, O God,

And restore now our hearts to you and to one another.

Wife: Repair the damages of our selfishness, our thoughtlessness, our inconsistencies.

Draw us again together at the close of this day, in love, and forgiveness, and fellowship and peace.

 

Together: May we sleep this night side by side in unity of heart and mind and purpose.

May we wake in the morning in solidarity and delight,

Thankful for the sharing of this life, for the companion who journeys beside us,

For hands to hold and arms to embrace, and lips to kiss at the close of day.

 

Husband: May we love one another more at the end of this day

Than we did at its beginning.

Wife: May we treasure one another more at the end of this week

Than we did at its start.

Husband: May we hold one another as more precious, more respected, more dear

At the shuttering of this month, than we did at its opening.

Wife: May we delight in our companionship and take heart in the sharing of our burdens more at the close of this year, than we did as it opened

Husband: May we reflect your glory far more fully in the beauty of our shared relationship

At the hour we are parted by death than we did even in the hour of our wedding.

 

Together: Bless our marriage. Kindle our desire. Teach us to be friends and lovers and companions.

And may this our marriage exist not only for our benefit,

But may the bond between us grow to be a shelter and a blessing for others as well.

 

Husband: We ask these things in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Wife: Amen.

 

Together: And now, with joined hearts, together we bring to you these burdens of our day.

 

Husband and wife may now freely petition their heavenly Father with all worries, burdens and concerns.

 

Copyright 2016 by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. All Rights Reserved.

new year’s resolution

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For Christmas, my husband got me a book with the subtitle “how to stop complaining and start enjoying the life you always wanted.” Should I be upset? All right, to be fair, it was on my wish list.

I’m not ready to undertake the book’s 21-day challenge, not even if it is the first day of 2019, perfect for fresh starts. But I will. The book says on average it takes people 4-8 months to successfully go 21 days straight without complaining, criticizing, gossiping, or being sarcastic. (If you slip up you start back on Day 1.)

Meanwhile, on an unrelated note, I’ve begun a list of Things That Bother Me:

  1. When built-in ribbon bookmarks start fraying, so you have to trim them and then they’re too short.
  2. When I’ve stopped before a crosswalk to wait for a car, and then the car slows down and stops for me.
  3. That feeling you get when you’re wearing leggings, jeans, and snow pants, and you have to go the bathroom.
  4. When drivers glance up and glance down, glance up and glance down. You know they’re texting. No one’s lap is that interesting.
  5. Houses with those laser-star Christmas lights that look like the house has green chicken pox. We have ours angled onto tree branches and it is much, much classier.
  6. When a parking lot is sandy and then I step into my car and feel the brittle sand rubbing the pedals under my feet every time I accelerate or brake.
  7. When you take great care to clip your nails over a sink or trash can but the clippings still go everywhere.
  8. People who clip their nails anywhere.
  9. Nearly all styles of parenting.
  10. Almost all children.

don’t text and walk

texting
source: foxla.com

I had just finished a hospital visit and was texting a joke to my colleague as I walked through the parking lot. I looked up every so often, between finger taps, and stayed on the edge of the lot.
A car slowed down and the driver, a man, said something out the window.
I stopped texting. “I’m sorry — what was that?” I ducked my head to peer into his car. There was a woman in the passenger seat. Both were smiling.
“I’m sorry,” the man said. “I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m worried about you texting. You can’t tell what’s going on around you.”
“I know,” I said, “and I know it’s bad, and I do it anyway.”
“I know. And you never know if someone’s gonna sneak up behind you and steal your pocketbook.”
“It’s true.”
Both he and his passenger seemed kind, and embarrassed.
“Thank you for looking out for me.”
“I care about you,” said the man.
“Thank you.” We exchanged have-a-good-days, and then I said something I rarely say, even though I’m a pastor: “God bless you.”
I sat in my truck to finish the text, zipped the phone into my purse and drove off.

 

on death, part II

Should you put an app on your phone that will remind you, five random times a day, that you will die?

WeCroak
photo credit: The Christian Century

Just finished this essay by a man who installed the app to finally gain power not over his life and death, but over his iPhone. It achieved all of the above.

“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

– Jesus, Luke 12:25

a poem by Ted Kooser

Winter Morning Walks

He wrote these poems while receiving cancer treatment that made his skin sensitive to the sun. If he wanted to take a daily walk, he had to do so in the dark.

I read these poems four years ago, on increasingly dark mornings. I read them slowly, aloud, while taking slow steps around my bedroom. I came across one I copied in my journal on October 22, 2014. Will God grace me with a marriage someday, I’d asked, — a good one? Will my childhood self finally know what she has only daydreamed about? Will it be all she hoped?

december 29

     Windy and cold.

All night, in gusty winds,
the house has cupped its hands around
the steady candle of our marriage,
the two of us braided together in sleep,
and burning, yes, but slowly,
giving off just enough light so that one of us,
awakening frightened in darkness,
can see.

Someday, I wrote. Someday.

Whole30

On Day 12 of the Whole30 nutrition program. We’re hanging in there.

Quick summary: Fill up on meat/seafood, veggies, and fruit — but you can’t have dairy, beans/corn/soy, peanuts, grains, booze, added sugar, or things like carrageenan/MSG/sulfites (none of which I can define). You have to read every label and scrutinize every ingredient. It will likely mean you make your own sausage, tomato sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and mayonnaise.

Breakfast has gone from a bowl of dry Cheerios with cheese on the side, to:

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Slider buns get replaced with potato wedges, accompanied by homemade mushroom/kale/squash chips:

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And, as an added bonus, you get intimately acquainted with your grocery store clerks!

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The Whole30 lasts about 45 days — 30 days of following the rules, then a two-week period of slowly reintroducing food categories and seeing how your body responds. Do you feel more bloated? sluggish? Does your skin break out? Is your sleep suddenly restless? From then on, you can know which foods keep your energy high and which foods make you gassy. Everybody wins.

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lunches that make you want to go to work

Ideally, you’ll not only manage your weight better, you’ll also rack up NSVs — non-scale victories. But I’ve been surprised which ones have bubbled up, for me:

  1. more gratitude for food
    1. praying before every meal and almost every snack
      1. and meaning it!
  2. more peace while eating
    1. I used to “need” to read a book or watch a show while eating. Now I can sit quietly, simply savoring and thinking.
  3. more confidence in the kitchen
    1. hated to stray from a recipe, but now I’m growing more comfortable estimating — and riffing!
  4. less screen time
    1. because when you can’t just zone out in front of the boob tube, mindlessly feeding yourself chips, there are fewer and fewer excuses to watch TV at all
  5. more sense of control at work
    1. Building on the positive momentum of planning ahead and meal-prepping at home, I feel more motivated to tackle work projects and chip away at each next action. One positive change in life can lead to another, and another.

All right, so far the Whole30 has not been all magic & fairies…but the good has outweighed the struggle, and we’re still early into it. The book promises that in a week or two we’ll be filled with Tiger Blood.

I look forward to that.

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Thai turkey lorb on Romaine wedges, with fresh lime juice, riced potatoes, and kombucha to drink
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Yes.

 

Of course, eating itself reminds us that none of us can stay alive on our own. If you are breathing, it’s because someone fed you.

Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 71