I am officially christening my “Daily Office” as my “Morning Office.”
I no longer dream of spending time with all the biblical readings prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer, though last fall, I had thought by now I would have worked up to three-square meals of biblical reading a day. But no. As I have settled into this new spiritual prayer practice, I find my morning readings create enough work to fill my daily life.
Each morning begins with the prescribed Psalms for the day. I do not like reading the Psalms, as reading a Psalm is like taking some bad-tasting medicine that I pray will somehow do me some good. It’s a half-hearted reading at best, though it does make me grateful for the Gospel and New Testament readings that follow as second and third course.
My problem with the Psalms is that they remind me of those days when I use to supervise a group of employees. I always found it hard to manage people, mostly because no one ever dropped in to tell me that work and life was grand. Instead, my employees would come to lament over the state of our office or whine about what was wrong with whoever or whatever. And of course, they wanted me to fix it.
The psalmists want God to fix things too. They hold nothing back for the sake of propriety. There is no middle way; depending on the number, they burn hot with love or hate — life or death — or wonder or misery. I am left to wonder whether these people are too good to be true — or just too true. Sometimes I just want to close the book on them and say, “Too much information — keep it to yourself, will you?”
When life in the Psalms is bad, prayers sound an awful lot like whining to my ears. But somehow, I can’t think anything but that God just embraces it all, whatever it is we have to say. The Psalms show people at their best and people at their worst and as long as people are being true to their experience, I can’t imagine God seeing anything wrong with it.
Created in the image of God who calls himself “I Am Who I AM”, as long as “we are who we are”, then everything is right between God and us — even when everything else is going to pot calling the kettle black.