On not being God




Yours is the day, O God, yours also the night; you established
the moon and the sun. You fixed all the boundaries of the
earth; you made both summer and winter.    Psalm 74:15,16
Last night I was in a terrible mood for the evening office. The Chapter of priests (six of us) define our life together in part by the Rule of life we live, which includes our commitment to gather in the chapel every morning and every evening for the morning ad evening offices  (morning prayer and evening prayer).  Each office takes about 20 minutes and comes from the tradition of cathedral chapters having emerged from monastic cathedral communities.
By gathering each day in the morning and evening and for the Eucharist, we stop the action of the day and ground it in God.  It is so easy, in any vocation, but especially in the priesthood, to get one’s self-esteem from one’s job. But the offices remind us that the place to go for praise and adulation is not the vestry meeting nor the coffee hour but rather, the act of prayer.
When I walked into evening prayer it was the last place in which I wanted to be.  But as I spoke these opening sentences to the office drawn from the psalms, I was reminded that there is a bigger picture.  The things about which my mind had chosen to complain were not very important.  It was just a story in my head that it was a bad day.  Indeed it was a very good day.  But most importantly it was not MY day at all.
The beauty of going to church, especially in a majestic cathedral such as St. John’s in the Wilderness, is that one is reminded of one’s simultaneously being deeply loved and really rather insignificant.  I took this picture because when I pass this window medallion in the hallway to the bathroom, I am reminded that I am just a small piece of the gathered glass. It lightens my mood an it reminds me that the God who has crated this stunning planet has everything under control and though I would lead the world differently were I God, I am not.  What a relief to be an aging, balding, rather insignificant good man on a team of beautiful clergy, congregants and staff.  What a relief that the day is not mine, but is God’s.

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