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.”

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2 responses

11 01 2010
mlbeck

I’m looking at Borders.com 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
tfounds

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

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