I’m not sure how many of you know this, but once a week I meet for prayer with some clergy friends of mine. We pray the hours for about fifteen to twenty minutes, talk a bit and then we’re on our way. I adore this sacred time. I look forward to it all week. It strengthens me in mind and spirit, so I block that time out every week; I build a fence around it and don’t schedule anything that would draw me away from that which uplifts me and gives me strength.
I have absolutely no gas in my little Honda. None. We’re at that point where the little needle has gone beyond the “empty” line, which tells me something very important about the rest of my morning…Now there are other things, other times, that Melissa and I build fences around. Like many of you, I hope, we build a fence around date night – we don’t miss it for anything. We build a fence around our favorite television shows. We’re political junkies, so we build fences around Presidential debates and things like that. I’m sure all of you have a list of sacred things that have fences around as well. Car shows, family nights, things like that.
There are 168 hours in a week. That’s quite a few if you think about it, and at Trinity – with the exception of Advent and Lent – we only gather all of us together for three of them. From 9:00 am to around noon every Sunday, we sit at the feet of Jesus, listen to His sacred Word and receive His blessed Sacrament. Yet so often, because of the busy-ness of parish life and the busy-ness of life in general, the fence around this time gets broken down. It’s not uncommon. We are, as Jesus says, “anxious and troubled about many things.”
As I write this article on a fair-weathered, sunny Tuesday morning, I’ve just returned from visits at Methodist Central Hospital. I have a noon meeting out in Cordova with our Cambodia Mission Team. I have, to continue our metaphor, built a fence around this half-hour to encourage you with a Word from the Lord that I hope with strengthen and uplift you. I am, however, in a bit of a rush. The problem: I have absolutely no gas in my little Honda. None. We’re at that point where the little needle has gone beyond the “empty” line, which tells me something very important about the rest of my morning. No matter how busy I am. No matter how much I’d like to rush around and be “anxious and troubled by many things,” at some point before noon, I’m going to have to stop. I’m going to have to fill my little car up with gas. If I don’t… well…
It’s important to serve God, and we should, as His Church, be about the business of living out our Calling, and serving one another as an expression of faith. We should live out our vocations with due diligence. We should fill our time with things that please God. However, for these three hours – for our 9:00 Bible Study and our 10:30 worship, the only three hours where we’re all together in the presence of Christ – for these three hours, we must stop. We must refill our spiritual tanks and “chose the good portion.”
Let me encourage you this month to be intentional about the fence we build around these sacred hours; to be intentional about the time we spend, not just with the Lord (you can do that on your own, or better yet, in a small group Bible Study), not just with one another (you can do that at your favorite restaurant or social club), but together with Christ’s saints and at the feet of Him who calls us to the good portion that will not be taken away from us.