Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quotation for the Week

One of my favorite devotional books is Phyllis Tickle's three-volume set of The Divine Hours. I saw them at Costco several years ago but didn't have the money to purchase them; I just drooled rather unattractively as I turned the pages, knowing that I would readily pray from these books if I owned them.

Several months later, a friend from Alpine Anglican, whose son I was tutoring, mentioned owning the series and not liking it; she offered, and I joyously took them off her hands.

And I haven't stopped using them since.

The books cover the entire calendar/liturgical year, with a volume for Springtime, one for Summertime, and one for Autumn/Winter. Each day contains prayers for Morning, Midday, and Vespers (evening), basically Scriptures and a few Collects from the Book of Common Prayer 1979. Then at the end of each month are the Compline Prayers (bedtime), a week's worth of prayers that can be used four times in each month.

I have set my phone to chime at 9:00 in the morning, 12:30 in the afternoon, and 6:00 in the evening to remind me to go upstairs to my prayer corner and pray the appointed Scriptures and prayers. The Holy Spirit speaks to me wonderfully during these times, as if the Scriptures were chosen especially for me to address an issue I'm dealing with, or the emotions I'm feeling, or the discouragement I'm facing.

Each Vespers set of Scriptures and prayers usually includes a hymn--some I know, but most I don't. But last Tuesday's Vespers hymn caught me and held me, especially the third stanza:

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not in vain
.....That morn shall tearless be.
.....That morn shall tearless be.

--Rev. George Matheson, from "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"
in Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, p. 115
As I, and many of my family and friends, live each day in pain (whether that pain be physical like mine or emotional which can often be worse), we can indeed open our hearts to God who allows us to indeed "trace the rainbow through the rain"--to see the good behind the pain, depending on His promises that the morning shall bring relief.

For me, mornings are very painful. I dread waking in pain so much that I almost fear sleeping. When I wake, my joints are swollen and stiff, my muscles ache, and I move extremely slowly. At times, the simple, ordinary task of taking a morning shower can sap my strength for hours, if not for the entire day.

But the promises are there, and I grasp them hard with hope, not willing to let go.

Thankfully, rising each morning "is not in vain." There is a day ahead, with work to do and people to love and God to worship. And there is indeed joy--even if it "seekest me through pain." We have to wait through the rain for the sun to shine, lighting the prisms of color through the rainbow--beauty from the rain...from the pain.

Memorial stained glass window by Keith Barrett

And then I think of C--the girl who loves rainbows, adores God, and is with Him now. We left-behind-ones grieve for her, missing her, but know that she has escaped the pain and grasps His sheer, heavenly joy.

Waiting with you for the "tearless morn,"

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