Friday, March 10, 2017


We know what a parenthesis is in typing—the two enclosing vertical crescent-shaped curves that set off an additional thought or word in a sentence like this (  ).  They are twins and come in pairs.

I have my own utilization for multiple parentheses. In emailing a close friend I often want to give her a hug to express my love especially when she lives at a distance. In some cases it is a bonding in the spirit with a friend whom I have never met in person. It is my personalized written image which my friends hopefully understand. I consider the parentheses as my two arms embracing them with a hug: 
 (((( you! ))))

Before I leave the subject of the two twilights set in daily motion at creation by God, (dawn twilight and evening twilight) I want to add a few thoughts. The twilights also come in pairs. I think of those two twilights as “God's love parentheses” one on each side, enclosing me in His embrace after He has blessed and guided me through another generous day between the parentheses.

I can't help but regret the loss of specifically enjoying both of those times of the day in the past. Too often I missed being snuggled in God's arms at evening twilight because I was still too busy with the tasks of the day, and I let God's invitation slip by me unnoticed and uncelebrated. I inadvertently hushed my ears and favored my own priority preoccupations rather than to be present to Him at my personal Evensong hour. 

The traditional Vespers hymn, all eight verses, was written with God's children in mind at the end of the day, whatever their age, almost like a lullaby: “Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh, shadows of the evening spread across the sky...Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet REpose...Glory to the Father, Glory to the Son, and to the blessed Spirit while all ages run.” When I miss my evening vigil, I have missed the opportunity of REcollection, a time to gather up the scattered events and doings of the day and spread them before the Lord for His touch of blessing or correction and sing to Him my praise for His abiding presence.

Sad to say, during most morning dawn twilights of my long life I preferred the snuggle of warm covers and unneeded additional snooze time instead of greeting the new day with God when He put on His brilliant wake-up display. I neglected the splendor of “When morning gilds the skies, my heart awakening cries, 'May Jesus Christ be praised!'” as the hymn writer so aptly expressed it. More often than not I stumbled into the day's duties having passed up the response to God's “Come unto Me” call and the blessings that He would have lavished upon me had I been present at His sunrise spectacular.

I'm trying to make these two sacred times of the day my parentheses of daily routine for this Lenten season. Forty days should be sufficient to establish a habit. Surely there are enough hours left within those parentheses to do justice to the ordinaries for which I am responsible and to accomplish the worthwhiles of my discretionary time. The positive things we add to our lives specifically during Lent are sometimes more significant for spiritual discipline and growth than whatever we deny ourselves. At the same time, adding positives usually requires detaching ourselves or denying ourselves of some of the negatives. When I include and celebrate the above two twilight times in my day, I deny myself of overwork and oversleep, both of which are less than admirable virtues and should be crossed out of our lives anyway.

As always, when we determine to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the rest of our needs and wants are provided abundantly by our Over-Blesser Heavenly Father.

LISTEN AND WORSHIP "Now the Day is Over"

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