Daily Devotion 14 January 2021
Mark 1: 35-39 ‘A Day in the Life of Jesus’
35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38 He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
We all have them, but how do we regard them? I’m talking about routines. From our moment of waking up each day, various routines begin. They continue throughout the day, maybe interspersed by the occasional surprise element. Some of our routines are associated with certain days or times of the day. We may regard some of them as repetitive, mundane or a chore. Other routines we may appreciate as giving structure to our lives – a secure and welcome scaffolding, if you like. This year’s special circumstances have caused many routines to be changed (working from home, Zoom Sunday worship for instance).
St. Mark in his Gospel helps us to discover what a day in the life of Jesus was like. Whilst even he must have had some routines around waking, eating and sleeping, the days of his ministry must have been quite unpredictable. In the reading above we find Jesus starting his day in solitary prayer and later preaching, teaching and healing. We can fairly safely assume that these were the essential elements of most of his days.
Brother Lawrence was a 17th century Carmelite monk who was given the task of cooking and washing dishes. Whilst doing these daily routine chores he taught himself ‘The practice of the presence of God’. This became his ‘Rule of Life’. He believed that God was present in every detail of his life. So what could have been mundane kitchen routines became for him a spiritual experience of “unsurpassed value”. I read his little ‘Rule of Life’ booklet many years ago and was struck by its simplicity. Brother Lawrence celebrated the ordinary and the routine. He reminds his readers that all such moments can be offered as a living sacrifice. For him the mundane was a means of meditation. We can discover the holy in the humdrum.
Just as Christ started his day in meditative prayer, I know that many of you also find it helpful to routinely begin and/or end each day in this way. It can help to put all the activities of the day into perspective. However, this reminds me of a busy young mum with four very young children who found it difficult to squeeze in some ‘quiet time’. Then she hit on the idea of saying her prayers as she routinely hung out the nappies on her washing line each morning. Brother Lawrence would have smiled! Of course, visits and breaks away from home make a welcome change from our regular routines. For many of us this has been difficult or impossible this last year. So let’s embrace our routines, not forgetting that even those which seem to be mundane can take on a different dimension and become life enhancing if we permit ourselves to see beyond…or as George Herbert wrote: “A man that looks on glass, on it may stay his eye, or if he pleaseth through it pass, and then the heavens espy!”
Teach me my God and King, in all things thee to see
and what I do in anything, to do it as for thee.
George Herbert (1593-1633)
(For further reflection on this theme see StF 73 ‘Fill thou my life’)
Reflection © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
Image freely available online.
Hymn words no longer in copyright.
A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356