Daily Office Readings for Friday Proper 9 of Year 1
“I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night.” (Psalm 16:7)
I am one who ponders. I meditate. Like the Psalmist, much of my meditation is done at night before bed or in bed. As I go over my day I ponder what was good and what was not so good. I ask myself, what have I learned today. Sometimes I learn a lot, sometimes, not so much. I have come to the conclusion that if what I learn does not change my life, modify my behaviors or habits in some small way it was a waste of time and meditation.
This is how my heart teaches me night after night. I think about the repeating messages that come to me from different people. Most recently a friend visited me at the church to practice guitar. I am blessed by his friendship and his love of guitar. My greatest take-away was his telling me to just practice a few minutes a day. He said that’s enough for muscle memory to kick in and make it feel more natural. This is more or less my paraphrasing of his words. I find his words a God-sent message because one of our pianist told me the same thing about the piano. This is not just about music, although I do believe there is a musical quality about God.
God often uses different people to bring us the same message. When the message is generic, that is, could be applied across a variety of topics, I ponder about how I can make use of such information. For example: could fifteen minutes a day be a good way to approach not only music, but reading, prayer, exercise, maintenance repairs, and yes, pondering itself. The regularity of a few minutes a day is more about making a life change, about modifying your behavior and becoming a part of who you are.
My guitar friend also said that if my plan for improving my guitar skills (or anything) is for more than just a few minutes a day I am more likely to tell myself that I don’t have the time necessary to do it at all and it results in not doing anything at all. Again, this is good information. It is through incremental small steps that babies learn to walk. I find that as I exercise in the mornings I am able to increase the number repetitions I am able to do. Also, I have a person that sits with me in spiritual companionship who says she is now able to sit for longer periods. I think that’s great but not the goal; nor is my increasing repetitions. Just keeping the few minutes a day is good enough.
So this is how my pondering mind works. This is why I like the words of the Psalmist where he says, “I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night.” Very often the words you hear, especially the “repeated” words are tools that can be applied across different walks in your life. I am one who ponders. I invite you to ponder about what God is saying to you through what you hear, and what you read, and what you see. Please know, God is at work in you.
And ponder anew what the Almighty is doing. John+