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I am discovering a deep joy that comes from living in God’s grace.  It simply doesn’t matter what the circumstances of my life are, God is always there, and his grace, joy, peace and strength are always available.  I may give in to the despair, pain, grief or fear of the moment, but always, always, always…joy comes in the morning.

I have been reading this past week about the mystics.  These men and women devoted themselves to prayer.  In their writings they shared their insights into the nature of God—insights developed in mystical, even ecstatic moments of prayer. 

Essentially mysticisim

“is the passionate longing of the soul for God, the Unseen Reality, loved, sought and adored in Himself for Himself alone.  A mystic is not a person who practices unusual forms of prayer, but a person whose life is ruled by this thirst”  Evelyn Underhill, Life as Prayer

This thirst, this passionate longing for God, is what I see developing in me, especially as I turn the trials of my life over to God in prayer.  The more I read, the more I study, the more I pray, the more confident I become in the knowledge that “our God reigns”  and “joy comes in the morning.”

What started me thinking in this way was that when I woke up this morning I was humming the hymn, “When morning gilds the skies”.  It is an amazing hymn and most of our hymnbooks do not do it justice, simply because for reasons of space they leave out a lot of the verses.  In the 15, yes 15, verses of this hymn we trace all the reasons, times, places for stopping to praise God for the gift of Jesus Christ.

When:
in the morning    while working     while praying      at worship     when singing      when sad             when dying         at mealtime      when happy        when laughing             in the evening     when sleepless   when struggling with temptation

Where:
at work      at play        at home     in the church      in creation

By whom:
the whole earth           sun    moon         stars           all creation         
                                 by all of us for the whole of our lives.

If we make every moment, every circumstance, every joy, every sorrow, even every breath an opportunity to praise God then we will come alive to God in a deeply profound way.  It is the way to become men and women of prayer….what Evelyn Underhill calls, “a live wire, a link between God’s grace and the world that needs it.”

I am not there yet, but I am on the pathway.  As I continue this journey I join in the words of this prayer written by Graham Standish…

Eternal God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
you have called us to be spiritual leaders of your body, this church.
Help us to surrender our hearts and mnds to you;
          To humbly seek your voice
          To boldly do your will
          To compassionately share your love
          To faithfully be your servants
                   And to reverently lead your people.
Bless all that we do, sothat we can do what you bless.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.

thanks to Google images for the photos

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