New Practices

7 01 2010

It is a new year.  This year I will not be making any “New Year’s Resolutions” or “New Year’s Goals” – doing so automatically assures failure in those areas.  However, I have attempted to take on some new things recently… things that I hope will stick… things that are meant to develop healthy rhythms and practices.

For one, I have started in on a “One Year Chronological Bible.”  It is a Bible that attempts to order the scriptures chronologically – as the events took place, not as they were written.  As I read through Genesis, bits of Chronicles appear… and then the book of Job butts in in the middle of Genesis.  When I read some of the stories of David, I will at the same time read psalms that are connected with the stories.  I hope that as the months pass (many months!) an anticipation will grow within me – an anticipation for the arrival of Jesus into the story.

I have also started using “The Divine Hours” – that is, fixed hour prayer.  I am using the collection put together by Phyllis Tickle.  There are supposed to be four times for fixed hour prayer(morning, afternoon, evening, before turning in)… though admittedly I have only been consistent in two thus far (morning and afternoon).  While I once was opposed to written prayers, I am learning to appreciate them more – recognizing that hundreds/thousands of Christians across the globe are praying similar prayers at the same time.

A final practice that I am instituting is a “Hymn of the Week.”  Each week I will choose a new hymn to learn and reflect on, recognizing that hymns often do a much better job of reflecting theology and truth than contemporary praise songs do.  For now I will start out with hymns that I am familiar with and love… but hopefully as the weeks pass I will branch out to lesser known pieces, finding beauty and truth in words written long ago, but new to me.  For this first week I have chosen “Holy! Holy! Holy!” and was surprised to find how well it fit with the Divine Hours.  The theme I picked up in The Divine Hours was that of ‘name’ – the naming of Jesus after his dedication and God’s “name.”  In its third verse, the hymn declares, “All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.”

I do not know how long these new practices will last.  They may fizzle out after a few weeks, but I hope not… I hope they turn into life-giving rhythms.

On a side note, I love Roman Krznaric‘s call for “New Year’s Explorations” rather than resolutions (Roman blogs on ‘Empathy’).  He writes: “Expanding your empathy might offer just what you are looking for. Empathising is an avant-garde form of travel in which you step into the shoes of another person and see the world from their perspective.  It is the ultimate adventure holiday – far more challenging than a bungee jump off Victoria Falls or trekking solo across the Gobi desert.”




2 responses

11 01 2010

I’m looking at and there is a book by Philis entitled “The Divine Hours” and then there are several different books with that title but for specific seasons (ex. summertime). Which do you have?

11 01 2010

I have every season. …working through “Autumn and Wintertime” right now.

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