Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.” -Psalm 5:3
We are creeping ever closer to the “longest day of the year.” What will we do with our time, how will we respond to all this possibility?
Well, if you have been reading the “Tidings” even for just a bit, you know that my style is not prescriptive. I rarely say, “you should do this, or that, or the other thing!” My devotions are typically much more suggestive, “Have you ever considered?” “Perhaps we could think about?”
But just for today, I am going to veer off from the typical path. As we edge ever-closer to the longest day of the year, perhaps we might think through a spiritual discipline that would shape our days in meaningful ways. Looking for some purpose, direction, and connection in your day, then… try this!
1. Set the tone: If you absolutely have to have that cup of coffee before you do anything else (believe me, I can empathize with you), fine, but then… start your day with a devotion. Anything will work, 20 to 30 seconds; a verse and a quick prayer - “Dear God, permit me to grow in wisdom today, and allow me be a blessing to someone” - will shape your hopes and expectations in profound ways. And remember, our congregation provides wonderful daily devotions for our members. Check out the welcome center or contact the office for a copy of, “Christ in Our Home,” “The Word in Season,” or “Our Daily Bread.” These resources will definitely help set the tone!
2. Pause for a check in and tune up: This might be the most surprising suggestion. The temptation is to start the day with prayer and then check it off the list. That approach is certainly better than nothing, but if you really want to deepen your spiritual life, I would encourage you to pause at lunchtime or maybe mid-afternoon. Take a deep breath, slow down for a moment, and ask, “Lord, how am I doing?” And then, pray for what you need, “God, give me an extra measure of your grace, help me to be more patient, grant me the perspective I need to make this decision, or the energy I need to embrace the rest of the day with more joy.” This will take you a total of 15 seconds and it has the power change the course of your whole day. Please, just consider it!
3. Close out the day with heartfelt gratitude, praise and thanksgiving: “How was your day, honey?” The possible reply, “Awful, absolutely terrible, could not have been worse… how about yours?” I get it, some days are absolutely better than others. But there are no days that are entirely lacking in moments in which God’s grace is active and for which we should be grateful. Just a couple of minutes thinking through the day, considering a moment when we have been truly blessed, this can still our spirits for a more restful night’s sleep and renew our hope for the next day.
Yes, as we say, tomorrow’s another day… and by the grace of God that new day can be more blessing than burden!
Question for reflection: Are there certain seasons of the year that seem more inspirational than others?
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, each new day is an opportunity to live in your light and know your love and grace. Remind us, continually, that’s enough for a beautiful and a meaningful life. Our response to the challenges and struggles of life need not be tinged by frustration and resentment, our actions can be more than reactions, they can be reflections of God’s goodness. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.