Monday, March 1, 2010

March Newsletter Article: "Starting the Day with Jesus"

What’s the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? For me, it’s “Where’s my coffee?” I climb out of bed, head down the hallway, eyelids half open, hoping not to stumble over toys left on the floor from the night before. Once in the kitchen, still drowsy, I somehow manage to fill the coffee maker with water and grounds and flip the switch for some welcome “motion potion” as I call it.

Then begin thoughts of what I have to do today. I won’t bore you with my daily to-do list, because right now you are probably already thinking about yours. And then inevitably come the worry and anxiety over getting everything done. I can relate.

Recently, I read a beautiful passage from the book Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was a helpful reminder to start the day out with God’s Word (and the prayer that flows from that Word):

For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs. “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14)

That’s a good prescription for putting the day’s work in perspective. Sit down with God’s Word for a few moments at the beginning of each new day. That’s not always easy. Some of us have children who are early risers and demand our attention (that’s true in my household!). Those are the times when you can start with Luther’s suggestion for morning prayer in the Small Catechism, which takes no more than a few minutes. Then, you can reschedule a longer time in God’s Word for later in the day.

Whether you need coffee or not because you feel so “dead” in the morning after you “sleepest,” we all need the life and light that our Crucified and Risen Savior gives to us. Apart from him, we all sleep the sleep of spiritual death. His “wakening Word” opens our eyes to his grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It opens the blinds on our darkened hearts to let his light shine in. His Word and Spirit raises us to a new life of faith and trust in him. Daily we can spend some time with Jesus whose death and resurrection puts all things in the right perspective for us.

In Christ’s service and yours,
Pastor Onken

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