28 July 2010

Meditation: "Yesterday, TODAY, and Tomorrow"

"O God our Creator,
your kindness has brought us
the gift of a new morning.
Help us to leave yesterday,
and not to covet tomorrow
but to accept the uniqueness of today."

--From an order for morning prayer from "A Wee Worship Book"

"What time is it? Now! Where am I? Here!"
--Jon Bailey, my uncle-in-law

"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today." --Matthew 6:34

Dear Friends,

My apologies for the long gap since my last meditation. It's been about two months! I hope to resume posting them more regularly now.

Last week, a team from our church headed out on a mission trip. We spent a few days in Lewis County, WA doing repair work on the homes of people who experienced a devastating flood in December 2007 and then another (though not as big) flood in January 2009. Each day, before our team headed out to work, we paused for a brief time of prayer. We used an order for morning prayer from the Celtic Christian tradition composed by the Iona Community's Wild Goose Worship Group.

The words that we prayed each morning (excerpted above) have been clinging to my heart and mind since our return. How hard I find it to leave yesterday behind! How hard I find it not to lean into tomorrow before today has ended! This simple prayer, which did not particularly catch my attention the first day, after repeated exposure, eventually wiggled into my consciousness. Now I am noticing anew the ways that I overlook the opportunities of the present moment. Each day is, indeed, unique. Each day has hidden within it opportunities to learn, to grow, to love, to cry, to serve, to go deeper (and to make mistakes!) that are unique to that day. One of the most difficult spiritual disciplines for many of us is simply being where we are.

Though I did not include it above, the prayer continues, "...take from us what we need to carry no longer, so that we may be free again to choose to serve you and to be served by each other..." What a helpful way to start a new day--prayerfully acknowledging the baggage we drag along with us and asking God to relieve us of our burden so that we can be free to love and serve. It's like praying, at the start of the day, "OK, God, here's the grudge I've been clinging to. Please take it so that I can be free of it!" or "OK, God, here's the anxiety I am feeling about my job/relationship/finances. Please take what I don't need to carry anymore so I can be free and available to others."

I'm thinking that this would be a great way to start every day (not just during a mission trip), to pray simply "Free me for TODAY, O God!"

Blessings on you,