One of my reflection partners this past week was an old friend of mine, Zach Eswine, who wrote a very honest pastoral theology entitled Sensing Jesus. In it he takes the measure of a day (among many other things). I found his Biblical construct of a day to be very helpful and thought it was worth passing on. So whether you are old or young; changing diapers, organizing meetings or plumbing a house; walking through your day thoughtfully can actually help you take things a day at a time.
Mornings (6-12) are for Praise — "in the morning songs of praise and thanksgiving can rise because God’s strength has gotten us through the night. The night didn’t win! We awake and see once again that God’s love hasn’t quit on us, and we ask that he will go with us and guide us into what awaits us." Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8 ESV)
The Noon hours (12-6) are for Persevering in Wisdom. During these hours we are often in need of wisdom in work and with people to persevere through the “burden of the day and the noon day heat.” Often the wisdom with which we traverse the noon day will set a course for the remains of the day. By God’s grace, justice and righteousness will shine like the noonday sun. (cf. Ps. 37:6)
Evenings (6-10) are for Hospitality — "extending kindness and the protection of a peaceable presence to our neighbors … by enjoying the blessings of ordinary goodnesses.” This is done with friends or family. There is a breaking from the “work” of the day as we prepare our bodies to rest, enjoying all that God has to offer. (cf. Mark 6:35-41)
Night Watches (10-6) are for Solitude — "not simply being quiet or resting, but taking into the presence of God the very real thoughts, emotions, or questions of the day." Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. …. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:4,8 ESV)
This is obviously very abbreviated and perhaps you want to fill out your own “seasons of the day,” but there is beauty and practicality here for those who have eyes to see:
- There is a path through each day. We shall not be overwhelmed for we can take it one “watch” at a time.
- There is grace to be sought and grace to be dispensed throughout the day. As we look to God for joy, wisdom, strength, and love, we are mindful of the Holy Spirit and the power he so powerfully works in us.
- But there is grace too when we have “blown” one of the “seasons” of the day. A faithless morning can give way to a wise noon. A grumpy noon can be repented of as we gladly reach out to Christ again for evening hospitality. God’s grace is new, each morning, noon, evening, and night!
- Mark your days by pausing to pray, reflecting on the passing hours and bringing in the waiting hours, in the hope of the risen Christ.
Perhaps you have your own roadmap through the day. I am sure that I have a lot to learn from those who have been walking this road longer than I have. I would love to hear your wisdom!