Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day by day

One of the places I turn to for spiritual inspiration is our hymnal. Sometimes the words and phrases in a hymn hold just the thought I need. Once I am familiar with the tune I can hum the hymn while I am driving or doing dishes or changing Katie Rose. Several hymns have 'day' or 'daily' in them. Today I am praying with Hymn 46. The words were written by Josiah Conder, (1829-1869), an editor and bookseller in London.

It begins: Day by day the manna fell. That is a reference to Exodus 16, where Moses was leading the people through the wilderness after their escape from years of slavery in Egypt. Not many grocery stores available in the desert, especially for this large a group. Part of the purpose of this wilderness experience was to give them time away from the customs and beliefs of Egypt and to help them return to the worship of one God. God showed them His lovingkindness and omnipotence by providing them with manna every day. For 40 years. It was described as a raining of bread from heaven, appearing on the ground each morning, and lasting just for that day. It tasted like wafers made from honey when ground up and made into cakes. This was literally like the 'daily bread' mentioned in the Lord's Prayer. In a spiritual sense, it was divinely supplied nourishment.

The hymn goes on to remind us that God's promises are fulfulled daily, giving us daily strength for daily needs. Our part is to 'cast foreboding fears away'. Foreboding means a sense of impending doom. We can look at our day and be sure that whatever is looming before us as a threatening or negative situation must be cast out for it does not have its source in divine Love.

The third verse has this phrase from Psalm 31:15. "My times are in Thy hand". I use that one every day when I begin to feel impatient with someone or something, when I am worried about the timing of some event, when I have too much or too little going on with the practice. It is a reminder of just Who is in control of my day. Part of Mrs. Eddy's definition of 'day' in the glossary is 'the unfolding of good'. So my times are under the government of divine Love and I can expect an unfolding of good daily.

The last verse begins: Thou, my daily task shalt give. I tend to be a 'list' person. I love to make lists and then check things off as they are done. It helps me be organized, which is a good thing, but can be frustrating when things do not get done when or how I think they should, which is a bad thing. That is when I need to stop and consider just what my daily task really is.

When my kids were small I used to keep a hymnal propped open in the kitchen. I would choose a hymn for that day and then be reminded of it several times as I prepared meals. I also keep a small paperback words only hymnal in the car. That has come in handy more times than I can count. There are many CD's available with the hymns, nice for a change of pace when you are commuting or on a long drive. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord today.

Be at peace.

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