Episcopal Diocese of Washington
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Bishop Mariann’s Blog
Thursday, December 13, 2012
If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9
A colleague asked how I was doing with my practice of reading the Scripture readings of the Daily Office. “I’m having a hard time,” she confessed. “So am I,” I replied. “I had hoped it would be more inspiring.”
But something happened the day before yesterday, and then again today. A phrase from the appointed readings stopped me in my tracks and gave me food for the day. Today it was this last line from Isaiah, an exhortation to a frightened king, but a word to me as well. I feel grounded in way that I can’t quite explain.
The point of touching base with the Bible each day, as with any other regular discipline, isn’t immediate gratification, but the way our hearts are slowly, imperceptibly changed over time. “Be still before the Lord,” writes the psalmist, in the psalm appointed for the day, “and wait patiently for him.”
I’m reminded of a story told by Rachel Noami Remen in her book, "My Grandfather’s Blessings." When she was quite young, her grandfather gave her a small paper cup filled with dirt. Disappointed with her gift, she was even more puzzled when her grandfather placed the cup on a window sill and instructed her to put water in the cup everyday. “If you promise to do that,” he said, “something special may happen.” She promised.
Every day for a week, she faithfully watered her cup and waited expectantly. By the end of the second week, she had lost interest and struggled to keep her promise, but she did. By the third week, she thought her grandfather must have been mistaken.
One day she awoke and found two little green leaves that had not been there the night before. She couldn’t wait to tell her grandfather, whom she expected to be as astonished as she was. But of course he wasn’t, and he carefully explained to her how life is hidden everywhere, the most ordinary and unlikely places. “And all it needs is water, Grandpa?” “No, little one,” he replied. “All it needs is your faithfulness.”
May God bless us all in our efforts to be faithful to life and hope that it surprises us in ordinary and unlikely places, this Advent and always.
How are your daily Advent practices going? What have you discovered that is helpful? Please share your thoughts and reflections on Facebook.
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