Dear Friends in Christ—
How do you stay centered when the world is being turned upside down?
This feels like a very contemporary question. I’m aware that so many of us are struggling as we reach the limits of our ability to manage chronic crisis. COVID has made us weary and disoriented. We expect to return to “normal” and find that normal has vanished.
But this question is not only contemporary. It is also very ancient. The earliest Christians understood that the coming of Jesus fundamentally altered everything. History had been disrupted, and with it the planned arc of ordinary lives, for good or ill.
As the church grew, it quickly established patterns to help Christians navigate the passage of time. One of those patterns is the routine of daily prayer. In the earliest days of the church, it was expected that Christians would pray not just as a private devotion but in concert with the rest of the church, using a liturgy built on the promise of the Psalm 119: “Seven times a day I will praise you.”
I’m aware that we need that practice now. We need it because we are tired and confused at this moment in history. And we need it because it is December! In our secular culture, Advent is not a time of waiting but instead of time of errands, school concerts, last minute shopping, and all sort of other spiritually destabilizing activities.
Mother Nina and I begin our workdays with the rite of Morning Prayer as found in The Book of Common Prayer. I invite you to drop in any time—we meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9:00 in the Malm Narthex. There’s plenty of room to spread out, and you don’t need any special knowledge. We’ll walk you through the service with us.
There are lots of other ways to share in the prayer of the church. You might join others who pray online. Or you might use the simplified Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, found in the BCP on page 137.
However you pray, know that you are not alone. The church is with you. And our center holds, because Jesus is there, holding on to us.
Yours in Christ,