I have become convicted of something as of late: I need to become a morning person. Those who know me might laugh and shrug it off, but I have identified this shift in my life as something quite necessary to grow and make life better. For years I have bought into the narrative of “not being a morning person” as an excuse to be lazy and shrug off responsibility.
Yesterday as I was driving around, I listen to a podcast by Michael Hyatt about ways to become a morning person. He surmises that the idea of not being a morning person is more of a preference than a biological certainty. That is, we are not “wired” to become morning people or night owls, yet more so adapted to whatever narrative we have chosen for ourselves.
Hyatt is a self-proclaimed morning person. But, he is by choice. He claims by starting his day well he can focus and get his vision set upon what is important for that day before anything else has the chance to get his attention. By easing into his day and giving attention to prayer and bible study early before the internet and telephone have the chance to get their say – God gets his time and sets the agenda.
I really like that. And, in the readings this week we find a desire to focus on what is true and important in the midst of a chaotic world. So many of us feel we have to divide our attention into small pieces to get through our many obligations. These readings call us back to our source, the place where our real obligation lies.
This week as you follow with us through the liturgy, reflect upon ways to regain your focus on what is really important. Identify the places where you might need clarity amongst chaos. When you do, go back to these scriptures to discover where God wants your focus.
What might surprise you is where he wants your focus. It might not be on you.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing.[a] Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”
Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,
“When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?”—
skimping on the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
“Will not the land tremble for this,
and all who live in it mourn?
The whole land will rise like the Nile;
it will be stirred up and then sink
like the river of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the Lord,
but they will not find it.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Father, as you gather your people to worship each week
So gather my thoughts and focus back to you
Like so many, I have wandered my own path
I have set my own agenda and feel like I know what is best
Lord, grant me the strength this week to engage your work
To see what you think is important
Let me work with humble hands and a clean heart.