Hutchmoot 2015 did not pass for me without effect.
More than a year later those changes are still evident.
It was during those four days that my vision for artmaking came into sharper focus and I began to own in a more experiential way the truth that whatever I steward in this life was placed in my care unto the end that it might be nurtured and exercised in community—and then offered back to community.
Part of what was broken in the fall of humanity, after all, was a true understanding of ourselves and of our unique and specific gifts as gifts apportioned to us that we might offer them for the service and delight and benefit of others. In this context, each of us, in the totality of our existence, was intended as a gift to others, were we not?
Imagine what all relational transactions will one day be like when the last vestiges of fear, shame, self-consciousness, greed and pride and manipulation have been forever removed from the equation, when motives are no longer mixed and questionable, when nothing is left but mutual joy and appreciation and delight in the glories of God uniquely manifest in each person. To know another person in that context will be the same thing as to experience a greater revelation of the nature and beauty and wonders of God.
The problem now is that we so often (and always to some degree) bend our gifts to ends other than those for which they were given.
But I digress.
This book is an idea sprung from the soil of community, and You are that community.Douglas McKelvey
The thing is this: at Hutchmoot 2015 I experienced my own connection to a specific community in a deep and tangible way, both as a community in which I felt nourished and affirmed, and also as a community in which I saw that I might have something to offer that could be of genuine benefit to others. But I also awoke to a greater sense of how the one required and flowed from the other and of how both parts worked together: as a community we nourish and encourage the specific individuals in it, unto the end that each individual might be liberated to exercise their gifts in a way that then nourishes and encourages the community as a whole.
It’s kind of a beautiful thing.
Roots to fruit.
So it was the stirring of all these ideas and emotions and multiple moments of teary-eyed thankfulness (coupled with a number of people’s responses to a liturgical adaptation of one of my unpublished manuscripts with which we closed the gathering that year [editor’s note: “The Liturgy of Lost Rhyme”]), that suddenly coalesced in those days of Hutchmoot withdrawal and afterglow, into a new book concept.
Within a couple of weeks of Hutchmoot 2015 I was sitting over coffee with Pete P., pitching the idea for Every Moment Holy: New Liturgies for the Everyday as a Rabbit Room Press book.
I swear the concept had arrived already fully fleshed out, which is another way of saying that it was less like staring at an empty page and wrestling ideas (as my experience of creating things often is), and more like plucking a fully formed and low hanging fruit that I had just bumped with my head.
Every Moment Holy would be, I explained to Pete, a collection of everyday liturgies that families, couples, individuals, and small groups could incorporate into the rhythm of their lives, written with a sense of lyricism on the one hand, but also penned as practical tools for training ourselves to more constantly “practice the presence of God” in all moments and facets of our lives. The book would exude an artful aesthetic, brimming with old-school-style woodcut illustrations (even if some of their subjects were more specifically modern).
There would be 100 liturgies in the collection: A Liturgy for the First Hearthfire of the Season, A Liturgy for When the Electricity Goes Off, A Liturgy for a Child’s First Day of School, A Liturgy for the Watching of Storms, A Liturgy for Home Repair, A Liturgy for the Morning of a Yard Sale, A Liturgy for a Broken Bone, A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends, etc.
I had already written A Liturgy for Fiction Writers and A Liturgy for the Keeping of Bees, and was working on A Liturgy for Sunsets and A Liturgy for Laundering (clothes, not money!).
Pete listened for a few minutes and then responded with an enthusiastic “Yes! Absolutely! Let’s do this!” And thus began our year-long journey to get to the point of now finally launching the effort to pursue the project (but that delay is another story involving countless forms and government agencies).
What I want Rabbit Roomers (and especially Hutchmooters) to understand is that Every Moment Holy is a book concept that emerged organically from my interactions with this community, from the active role that you have played in my life. This book is an idea sprung from the soil of community, and You are that community.
And for that I am grateful.
Because of that it’s also very much a project that I hope will be a gift to community; first to the Rabbit Room circle, but then, more broadly, as a part of the Rabbit Room community’s ongoing gift of creative output to the church and the culture.
Now that we’re finally able to move forward with raising funds to create Every Moment Holy, I suggested to Pete that we share one of the liturgies here, so that anyone curious about the project would have a clearer idea of what the tone and approach of the book will be.
Click here to read “A Liturgy for a Husband & Wife at the Close of Day.”
Some of the liturgies in the book will be for circumstances that only come about once a year or so. But others, like this one, I hope can be useful and meaningful to people on something more like a daily basis.
Feel free to print out and use and even copy and pass around this liturgy if you wish. All we ask is that you please leave the copyright info at the bottom so that if it does “have legs” we won’t lose it to public domain before the book is even published.
Doug participated in the early work of Charlie Peacock’s Art House Foundation, an organization dedicated to a shared exploration of faith and the arts. In the decades since, he has worked as an author, song lyricist, scriptwriter, and video director. He has penned more than 350 lyrics recorded by a variety of artists including Switchfoot, Kenny Rogers, Sanctus Real, and Jason Gray. His newest book is Every Moment Holy (Rabbit Room Press). His other works include The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog (illustrated by Zach Franzen), The Wishes of the Fish King (illustrated by Jamin Still), Subjects with Objects (with Jonathan Richter), and Stories We Shared: A Family Book Journal (with Jamin Still).