What defines the beginning of your day? For many of us it has been that first programme on the radio – possibly the weather forecast – will it be a “nice” day for doing the things we have planned? Or, perhaps, Radio 2 to recharge our energies, through vibrant music. Many of us have listened for years to the Today programme, with it’s in-depth analysis of politics and world issues. Maybe, in the current times, you switch on to Classic FM to help you cope with the stress of life in the 21st Century.
The next verse in our Morning Prayer comes from the Psalms, and reminds us of how we can “start the day” with a different priority:
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in itPs. 118.24
The first thing that catches my attention is the word “this” – ie. this day, right now! We can easily use difficult times such as these to reflect on past experiences and sometimes we choose to put on the rose-tinted spectacles to look back to golden eras in our lives in – say- the 1960’s or 70’s. Or, we may long to be free of the current restrictions on our lifestyle and plan for future holidays and pleasurable experiences. Whilst a review of these things can be beneficial, we must not lose sight of the call to make the most of our lives today.
The Psalmist may have been thinking about a special day – this verse comes just after his prophetic words about the rejected stone which became the cornerstone of our faith – Jesus Christ later applied these words to himself. Or, maybe, he was thinking about the Creation story in Genesis, where after each day the Lord made, we read that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Or perhaps, he was thinking of the Passover:
This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.Genesis 12.14
Whatever the basis of his thinking, we can remind ourselves of the Cross, which stands outside of time as an eternal symbol of God’s love, through Jesus giving his life to set us free from sin and anxiety.
Do we find it easy to rejoice and be glad on a day like today? We may find rejoicing to be easy in the good times – but we find it much harder to do so whilst we are in the midst of experiencing adversity and painful issues in our lives. Last week, Simon Large sent out what I felt was a very helpful prayer relating to this issue, which came from a Tearfund Lent Reflection, entitled: “Happiness is a feeling; joy is a decision. So, let us decide.” Here it is again:
When I am among the people whom I love – let there be joy;
When I spend time in silence and solitude – let there be joy;
When I go about my daily business – let there be joy;
When the sorrows of life weigh me down – let there be joy;
When circumstances do not go my way – let there be joy;
When I cannot see the path ahead of me – let there be joy;
Among the highs and the lows, the weakness and the strength,
In every season of life O Lord – let there be joy.