I suppose one of our main challenges in life is finding balance. Many of the questions I am hearing fall into that category: How do we balance older and younger children? How do we balance organic learning with structured learning? ( I am working my way up to answering those questions.)
How often have we heard a pastor try to balance law and grace? Grace offers us the freedom we so desperately need to flourish; law offers us the structure we need to enjoy grace.
I was talking to an older mother at a baby shower yesterday and she felt that maybe I talked so much about not worrying about academics in the early years that the danger was that moms would get lazy. She said this because she tended to do that. This is, indeed, a real problem which I addressed this summer in my talk on raising sons. Some sons become alarmed when the homeschool is not structured enough. They worry they will not be prepared for life and often this is because mom is not diligent to give structure to the day.
And this is the beauty of liturgy and why I think Morning Time works so well. It offers us a structure from which we can enjoy freedom to flourish and learn.
In our Sunday School class we are using the Psalms of Ascent (120-134). The ascent is from crisis to trust to peace as we come from the valley outside the city to the temple heights of Jerusalem. These Psalms give us a structure for dealing with adversity.
This is the importance of liturgy. Our church services have no life apart from the spirit of God but our structure offers us a place to wait on God. If we really believe the bridegroom comes we will have oil in our lamps. The lamps and the oil represent our trust and belief in the bridegroom.
Today our SS teacher, Dick Allen, used this quote:
"Every present moment is waiting to be eternalized."The Work of Love: Creation as Kenosis by John Polkinghorne
I think that is the heart of of liturgy. It is a way of structuring our lives in anticipation.
For instance, in the comments someone mentioned the prayer of repentance. We pray the prayer of repentance every day but we don't truly repent everyday and we cannot make our children repent much as we would like to. The structure of a prayer of repentance frees us from manipulating our own heart and the hearts of our children while we wait on the spirit to fill us with true repentance.
The structure is in place while we wait for the Spirit. It is our faith in the spirit that builds this structure. Ultimately, the structure isn't important but for now it is.
The balance comes when we remember that the structure we are building is not the thing but only a reminder of the thing, a preparation.
The Psalms of Ascent, the church calendar, the liturgy, and even Morning Time all help us on our journey to meet the King face to face.
Last week the boys and I sang 4 different hymns during different days of Morning Time. We didn't sing them particularly well, but this morning in church, two of those hymns were part of the service and all three of us sang loudly and joyfully with the whole congregation because God had once again shown us that he is with us on Sunday morning and he is with us during the week. The liturgy opens our eyes to miracles.
Suggestion of the Day for Morning Time Memory:
Psalm 121 (KJV)
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore