Trying The Daily Office

I don’t know if I’m depressed, tired, lonely, post-crises depleted or just flat feeling sorry for myself. I can’t even find coffee that tastes good.

Being a soul-tender is important to me. Not to please God, lest He kick me to the curb, but if I don’t satisfactorily tend my soul, I feel crappy.

An acquaintance told me they expected about 70 family members for Thanksgiving dinner. Seventy! And Carole consults the Internet just to seat our tribe. I asked the lady from the huge family if they sat around the table.

“Yes, but not the same table.”

She also said they did not sing this year. When the crowd was smaller, she directed them in singing 3-4 songs each year. With a gathering that large, singing would have been spectacular. The four at our table probably would have been self-conscious. We should have sung anyway!

I need to pray, worship, be touched by music and art, exercise, read and engage in conversation. Seventy is a not a conversation group, it is a crowd. I need a table full of people who like to talk about everything. I think 4-8 talkers of the story-telling variety is about right.  

Time has gotten hijacked—stolen or filled with important stuff. But none, not one, thing on my list gets crossed off. Oh, I have prayed. Short sentence prayers to ask God to be with friends who grieve and those who need God’s attention and healing. I’ve skimmed Ezekiel chapter by chapter. That counts for something, doesn’t it? And severe gratitude for healing my wife!

I ran across a book title that captures my mood: “Go Tell The Bees that I’m Gone.” My bee-keeper friends tell me how our world is dependent on bees for food, flowers and things not usually considered. The book title is upside-down. I don’t have anything to offer the bees. They wouldn’t notice my absence.

King David was faithful to set prayer times. He prayed seven times a day (Psalm 119:164). Daniel, who was a busy, busy government leader of integrity, prayed three times each day (Daniel 6:10). Lately—not me!

Ten or fifteen years ago, we met friends/missionaries for lunch. We were early, so I went to Half-price Book Store. Half-way through the store, a specific book caught my eye. It almost fell off the shelf—“choose me, choose me!” Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero. About ten minutes into lunch, John asked me, “Have you ever read “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality?” You can guess how stunned I was.

It must have been in the same time frame I picked up Scazzero’s little book, Daily Office. Clearing a bookshelf this week, I found the book. In that little book, he includes

  1. Silence, Stillness, Centering
  2. Scripture
  3. Devotional reading
  4. Question to consider
  5. Prayer

The phrase “Daily Office” designates setting times aside each day to “do the work of God.” For many of us it is quieting self and centering for a minute or five several times during the day using Scripture, Prayer, Stillness and/or intentional and vocal blessing .

I like warm days when I can sit in the car on a parking lot for an extended period. This “Daily Office” approach assumes we’ve got two minutes, five or ten minutes. Finding a place to warm one’s soul is important as the days grow shorter and elements chill us.

This discipline sounds wooden and lacking spontaneity, but my barren soul needs  stimulation and direction. 

(c)2021 D. Dean Benton 

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