Monday, August 22, 2005

Preserve Us...Direct Us

My date with the Morning Prayer today ended as soon as I tried getting through the Old Testament reading:

Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David's own warriors did not side with Adonijah. (NRSV)

Now, it's not as if I suffer from an aversion to reading about wars and rumors of wars. As a child I was steeped in battle imagery -- the Rat Patrol versus Rommel, Bullwinkle and Rocky versus Boris and Natasha, the United Federation of Planets versus the Klingons and get the picture. Today I enjoy reading war memoirs; for better or worse, it's who we are as human beings -- people whose history has been largely defined by political strife and violence. But there's something about Biblical tales of wars that (especially at 7:00 a.m.) turn my brain to mush; even more so than the endless procession of incompetent kings who "did evil in the sight of the Lord."

I knew that my busy morning was simply not going to let me get into the readings, and indeed the rest of the Prayer, the way I I fell back on the Morning Prayer for Individuals and Families. I used to feel as if this were a poor second choice -- the Cliff Notes Morning Prayer for slackers. But is it? As I read through the prayer today, the Collect -- something I've prayed countless times -- made a particular impression on me:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

What better way to begin the day than to ask for God's protection and guidance? I was particularly taken by the phrase "direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose"; not only because I'm discerning a vocation in a more formal sense, in the context of service to the Church, but because this petition underscores the fact that, in the household of God, we have chores to do. Some of them may seem holier than others; but no matter what they are, they are ultimately a "God thing." Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.


Derek the ├ćnglican said...

LOL! I've used that as "the slacker's way out" too on occasion... I usually feel bad and double up the Psalms in the evening, though...

I actually really like this section we're going through. Too many people either 1) don't read it or 2) don't pay attention to it. I've always wanted to do a Mary Renault style novel on the life of King David. And none of this pious "holy harper of Israel" crap. I'm talking about the guy who played professional bandit for several years and--this part tends to get glossed over a lot--who served as a sub-king for the Philistines! And salved his conscience by indiscriminately raiding both sides... There's some really great stuff hiding in those books if you read between the lines.

Derek the ├ćnglican said...

Waitaminute... Hmmm. It's making me type letters that I see before posting my comment. Can it be? Has Blogger come up with something to defeat the blog spam-bots? I sure hope so...