November 27, 2013 | 11:30 am

Routine, Sweet Routine

Anne Lamott, a masterful storyteller and bestselling author, tells her grandson hypnotizing boring stories about Sleepy Beach and Sleepy Planet at bedtime:

"First, you have to drone: 'one day, Daddy and Jax and Nana decided to go for a walk on a long beach called Sleepy Beach. The sun made them tired. They’d walk and walk and walk and stop for a while for some shade and then walk and walk.' … In Sleepy Planet, 'me and Jax and Daddy are going to really sleepy planets, and they’re warm from the sun so that makes everyone doubly sleepy.'"

Genius! I have started telling stories about Sleepy Beach to my kids. Sometimes they ask for stories about super heroes and somehow those super heroes end up falling asleep on Sleepy Beach. It's a magical routine, and they don't even protest because it makes them feel warm and safe inside.

In our God Squad class of 2nd through 4th graders, we have instituted a routine of our own. We start our worship hour with this Call to Worship every week this fall:

Come now, all who thirst, and drink the water of life
Come now, all who hunger, and be filled with good things.
Come now, all who seek, and be warmed by the fire of love.

I say the first phrase, and the kids say the second. They are starting to memorize it, and I know that because some of them say it and roll their eyes instead of reading the sheet. I call this a win. Routine is worshipful. They may roll their eyes, but they are comforted that they know what to expect when we start our time together.

For the season of Advent, I will include the extended version:

In Christ, the God of heaven has made his home on earth.
Christ dwells among us and is one of us.
Highest of all creation, he lives among the least.
He journeys with the rejected and welcomes the weary.
Come now, all who thirst, and drink the water of life
Come now, all who hunger, and be filled with good things.
Come now, all who seek, and be warmed by the fire of love.

Do those words make you feel warm and safe inside?

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