Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Daily Office: Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of The Episcopal Church

My friend Todd has a personal trainer.

Three times a week, he stops by the gym and is put through a rigorous workout that includes all sorts of exercises that condition and buff his body into the kind of frame he desires. Todd is a very smart, busy man who relies on his trainer to put together the right kind of program to help him grow and develop.

One day after a workout I asked Todd, “Does your trainer show you a lot of different kinds of exercises that are more effective than the ones the rest of us do?” “No,” said Todd, “the main reason I have a trainer is not because of what he teaches me, but of how he pushes me. I know how to do all the exercises, I just need help doing them.”

Isn’t the Christian life a bit like this?

That's why I am particularly fond of the Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer. It's where I find a framework for leading the kind of prayerful, devoted life I want to live. 

It’s been said that the faith life of the average North American Christian has developed little since Sunday School. Polls that test biblical literacy seem to support this (my favorite: 1 in 10 Christians believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife). This sense that our spiritual lives should take precedent over the development of our physical bodies or our careers is not widely shared both in the culture or in the Church.

It is poignant that Jesus did not spend much time showing us how to be physically fit or how to climb the corporate ladder. He commended us to pay the highest attention to our spiritual lives – knowing this would lead to the most fulfilling and satisfying life of all.  Yet we know we live in a culture that actively works against this. Indeed, growing more deeply into discipleship is life’s most difficult endeavor.

So do we need a personal trainer? You bet. In fact, we need several. And the Daily Office in the Prayer Book can serve as a seasoned companion on our journey as we set to form, or reform a regimen that allows us to take our spiritual lives as seriously as we take the development of other areas of our lives. In fact, summer is a wonderful time to take a step back and consider what deeper formation might look like. What concrete steps toward deeper discipleship might we look to take - and how can the Daily Office help?

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

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    Lisa Jones