“Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And all people who have this hope purify themselves even as he is pure.” – 1 John 3: 2,3
I wonder what waking up in the mornings is like for you. For me, the very first thoughts are usually groggy. By the fourth thought, I’m immediately on to the day’s work and worries. The stream of consciousness goes like: Gotta take care of this, is she still mad at me?, which kid needs what for school, any more clues in the San Bernadino case?, things I should’ve done yesterday, things I wish I didn’t have to do today. Before I know it I can be writing emails, looking at the news, sending texts, checking Facebook all before getting out of bed.
It may be obvious, but let me go ahead and say it: this is not the way to start a day filled with hope!
To nurture hope, the verse says, we purify ourselves. We indulge in a good bath for our thoughts, if you will. For me, this means saying no to my waking thoughts and saying YES to intentionally beginning the day. That means praying first thing. I can’t come up with my own words too well in the morning, and it helps me to be connected to the global and historical church. Here’s my morning prayer if you don’t have one of your own (from St. Benedict, 6th century church leader):
O Lord God, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Next is reading Scripture, which I do on my smart phone, and honestly find very hard to do first before doing all the other things I can do on that phone. It’s a discipline I have to work at. A chapter a day is on my favorites bar, so one right touch and I am there, in God’s word, before I am in the world. My mind gets washed before more stuff piles on. I am always glad when I do it! When I miss, I can tell within 10 minutes that I need to start the day again. Thankfully that is possible! At any time!
This is what it takes for me to have a glimmer of a chance of keeping Hope going in my heart throughout the day. What does it take for you?