Library, Sunday Lesson

Sunday Lesson – A prayer before reading

On most Sundays, I post a brief vignette from the life of Jesus and consider how it relates to me and to us. I don’t preach. My goal is to understand what the writer said and what the hearers heard. I leave the what it really means to others, smarter than me. I don’t come from any defined theological position except love: I read and enjoy almost anything from the Big Three of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant theology. I believe by faith, and not logic, and whatever I glom onto, I hold in an open hand. Loosely.

Selah


I go to a lonely place…

I start most mornings with a quiet time, just like Jesus. I get alone and, well, quiet, and remove distractions and intentionally listen. Gospel writers tell us that Jesus sought out a lonely place. I do the same thing.  

My time will be different than yours, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. A wise caveat here: singer Keith Green warned once against making a vow to G that you will do this or that and read so many chapters each and every day. If you’ve tried this, you know the outcome of broken promises to G. I recommend that you design your quiet time in a way that suits you and your relationship with the Father. As for vows? Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No

My quiet time

For me, I like to go outside to our back porch. I bask in the faint smell of flowers and laugh with cardinals as they announce their presence. The South Carolina sun-hot even at six AM for this Seattlite-falls on me while I drink my first cup of decaf. There’re many more to come. There’s nothing overtly spiritual about any of this, but I wonder if the point is that it’s all spiritual, that nothing is overtly spiritual unless we make it so.

I do simple stretching. I’ve been a runner or a bicycle racer for most of my adult life but had a nasty accident a few years ago. My body and I feel better throughout the day if I start with stretching. The dog likes it, too, barking and growling at me and pawing with sharp claws. It’s good for both of us.

I read a wisdom chapter from the Bible each morning and jot down thoughts about how to better incorporate this uncommon sense into my daily activities and into my family life. 

I read Our Daily Bread. It’s a tiny devotional for each day of the month. Every single time I spent the night at my dad’s parents’ house, mornings began with a humble breakfast and a ’round-the-table reading of Our Daily Bread. If you were of age, you took your turn reading a line and then passing the book to your right. The folks who publish this treasure found me a couple years ago and asked if I wanted a subscription. Subscriptions are free and, just like I imagine Grandpa did, I send them a small chunk of change at the end of each year to pay for my subscription and for a few others, too.

Most importantly, at the beginning of each morning, with the sun shining and before my reading, I say this prayer, nestled into my chair on the porch, my Bible open on my lap, awash in birdsong:

“Father, all truth comes from You. As I read Your words now, help me to know your character, your beauty, and your love. Reveal to me my character, too, and my need for you. Spirit, You live in me and shine through me. Transform me as you will and expand in me in the depth, length, width, and height of your presence. Jesus, I adore the good news of You. Create in me a spirit of servanthood and carry me with your love and mercy. Today, as I walk through my day, show me people who need love and mercy and enable me to be their conduit to You.”

Your quiet time?

Do you have a time set aside like this? When you stop your busyness for a few minutes and let truth seep into you? Or when you connect with the Father, as a child does? How does your time look?


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