To read this morning's office, click here.
If our heart is not in the act, the act is superficial. Sometimes our heart is not in it because we are strangers to those to whom the act is most important. Yesterday, Kris and I went with his wife's family to the dedication service of a new chapel at Christian camp, called Mission Meadows. We didn't know but a handful of people, but the service itself was about people we'd never heard of, funny events in the camp history we'd never heard about, and about connections and experiences we had no part of. So, much of what was said and done went by us. You could say our heart was not in it. We did our best to enjoy what we could -- the music, the prayers, the litany written for the occasion, and the entire value of camping to the Christian community.
More importantly, as we say our offices we challenge our hearts to wake up and be receptive. Reading novels, attending movies, or watching theatrical performances have one thing in common: if you open your heart to receive what is there the story can take you for a ride.
If you say your offices with a heart prepared to receive, the office can speak to you: it will tell you, in the course of the year, the Story of the Bible and of Jesus Christ; it will tell you, in a week, a Story of the Prayer Appointed for the Week. And it will tell you something specific each time. But only if the heart is open to receive.
How to do this? I like to pause, quiet my heart, rid myself of all distractions, and concentrate as I read and to read in such a way that I expect anything rather that than something specific. Let the Word speak, I say to myself, and my heart answers back:
"The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; and a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."