Liturgies are like anchors. I say this not to evoke nautical allusions in your mind, but instead, I want you to think of these anchors as those things that keep you grounded and tethered to the path you walk. Hebrews says that Christ is the anchor of our souls, our lives are to be lived fastened to Christ. And to be anchored to Christ is to walk along the path of righteousness, to be anchored to something else is to walk along the way of destruction. And the liturgies in our lives determine which path we will walk. With each choice, with each act, and with each unbridled affection we lay down an anchor that binds us to one path or another. We are necessarily tied to these anchors as they reflect who we are and what we value. We cannot detach ourselves from the anchors we have set, if we don’t like the liturgies in our lives, we must do the work to pull them up and set them on a different path. But we can never detach ourselves from them altogether. Like an anchor, some liturgies have been placed in the soft ground, easy enough to remove. Others we have lodged in stone, where it will take blood, sweat, and tears to dig up and move. Every choice you make is another anchor lodged in the ground of your life tethering you to the telos, or ultimate end, of your decision.
If you're in the habit of scrolling through Facebook at night before you fall asleep, and you have noticed that it has begun to affect your ability to sleep, perhaps it has even caused conversations with your spouse to be shallow, or maybe it evokes feelings of depression, you can dig up that anchor with relative ease. Charge your phone in the kitchen at night, so it's not next to your bed. There, problem solved. That's like pulling an anchor lodged in two inches of sloppy wet mud. However, If you’re in the habit of looking at porn every week, and have been doing so for the last few years, this liturgy is lodged in granite and will need a lot of work to remove. For every person, there are thousands of anchors lodged in the ground of your past that can only be pulled up with intentional, prayerful, and communal work.
These anchors are not always bad. In fact, anchors are also what keep us on the path of holiness. Peter tells husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7). This is part of the liturgical life of a good marriage; husbands must be intentional in learning, studying, and understanding their wives. For this to happen couples need to spend time together, you need to eat and talk together, you need to play, you need to work side-by-side, and you need to dream about the future together. Husbands, you want to understand your wives? Pray out loud with her every day. Hearing your brides heart in prayer every day is one of the best ways to understand your wife. Establishing godly liturgies in your marriage, laying down anchors that will bind you to virtuous living, is what will keep you close to one another and keep you close to the heart of God. Where you place your anchors determines the path of your marriage.
Recently a pastor I know was fired from his church for having an affair. This affair did not just happen, they never just happen. It was the result of cultivating liturgies over many years. It was and always is, anchors set in the soil of pride, self-righteousness, arrogance, hatred, and foolishness. He had no anchors established that were strong enough to keep him from cheating on his wife. If the man was sneaking out of the bedroom multiple times a week to look at porn, if he was not confessing his sins, if he was not loving his wife well and pursuing intimacy with her, then the anchors he laid down were ones that could not keep him from a sexual affair.
A sexual affair will not happen if a husband or wife lives the liturgical life of godliness. Proverbs 12:28 says, " In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway, there is no death." If your anchors are tethered to Christ, if your habits are ones that strengthen your marriage, if your rhythms are such that cultivates a marriage that reflects Christ and his bride, then when temptation comes you will be so anchored to Jesus that your instinct will be to run from sins seduction. However, if your liturgical life is one of running toward destruction, then when the temptation arises you are already 99% of the way there. You’ve already planted the seed and watered it, the only thing left to do is harvest.
" My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you."