The manner in which we live our daily lives affects our spiritual lives. This doesn’t sound like a profound discovery, but its reality struck me hard this morning. Our lives are so busy. We pride ourselves in multi-tasking and sandwiching in as many activities or errands we can in a given time period. Do I have 5 places to go this morning? Let’s see…if I take 190 to 15th street then cut over to Plano Parkway and take it to Coit, then I can come back via Whole Foods Market on Belt Line and then home, with a stop at the post office. Oh, but wait, I could shorten my time a few minutes by going in reverse and always make right turns instead of left. We’re so used to quickly stopping somewhere, getting our purchases and hopping into the car for the next errand. If we have to stand in a line for more than 60 seconds, we become irritated. If we see the line is long when we drive up, sometimes we’ll even forgo that task for the day.
This stop-and-go lifestyle can easily carry over into our spiritual life. This morning, I sat down to spend time in the Word and prepare my heart for the day ahead. I opened my book on the Divine Hours and began to quickly (and without much comprehension going on) go through the readings for this morning. An image popped into my mind of me, running into a lofty cathedral full of worshipers, candles lit, a service going on. Others turned and looked at me as I made a commotion and tried to find a seat. I was completely oblivious to all around me and what was already taking place. Is this the way to enter into the presence of the Holy of Holies? I looked back to the beginning of the Divine Hours liturgy for the day. The reading is intentionally organized into sections, reflective of a person coming to a sanctuary or temple to offer worship: The Call to Prayer, The Request for Presence, The Greeting, The Refrain, The Reading, and so on. As Americans – those whose founders overthrew England’s monarchy – we have a difficult time with protocol and formalities, which often appear insincere or unnecessary. True, such loftiness can degenerate into arrogance and exclusivity. But there was a purpose behind such seeming artificiality. These rituals or conventions help to prepare our hearts and spirits for what lies ahead. How we view our heavenly Father – holy, infinite, powerful, majestic – should be reflected in how we approach him. Yes, there are times when we are in pain or danger and we run into the sanctuary crying out our Father’s name. He welcomes our cries to Him. The rest of the time, we should be mindful of who He is and who we are and approach the Trinity with awe and wonder and an awareness of our unworthiness. With this attitude, our spirit will be more willing to listen and receive instruction. This part of our life must be guarded from the press of the world’s demands. It’s not an option – it’s our lifeline.