Monday, August 1, 2016

A Brief Reflection on Morning Prayer

My morning routine includes the Episcopalian Office of Morning Prayer, but my brain needs to warm up before I’m ready, which requires a half cup of coffee and a couple of morning comics, notably Non Sequitur and Shoe.  I try not to look at the news, especially during campaign season.  While following the liturgy, at least in principle, I take whatever time seems right to simply meditate.  The Office helps through its prayers that focus attention in different directions each day. It keeps things from getting too rote.  It took a long time to realize that.  When I first started almost thirty years ago, it got repetitive, boring, to say the same cycle of daily prayers over again each week.  Only later did I discover that they were not prayers to be said and ended, but doors that opened communication with God in new ways with new perspectives that are seldom repetitive.  It took even longer to discover that in the silence between prayers God was telling me to pay attention to what he might be saying throughout the day, and not in the few minutes of more formal morning prayer time.  

Most of the year its my study is where it happens.  There’s my reading chair, side table, desk, books, note pads, array of electronic gadgets, icons, bay window overlooking the north garden.  I like it.  It fits me.  But it’s not most of the year right now.  It’s high summer, and there is nothing more inviting that the cool of a summer morning sitting on the south patio just as the sun rises over the mountains.  Coffee, iPad and prayer book in hand, it’s where I go, and it’s where the liturgy dissolves.  Prayers and scripture get interrupted by birds flitting on and off the feeder, drinking from the fountain, and dodging in and out of bushes.  Squirrels scurry from their nests high in the trees.  Morning breezes ruffle leaves.  Formations of geese fly from east to west on their way to feeding grounds.  Local turkeys gobble from their roosts in trees a block away.  Nature provides the only sounds, at least for a while.  If I sit still, none of the others seem to notice that I’m there too.  

The liturgy gives way to morning conversation with God, open ended reflection on the day’s scripture, and sometimes nothing other than just sitting there enjoying the moment in grateful thanksgiving for having the moment to enjoy. 


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