Today has been handcrafted by the Lord, so we will enjoy it, and augment it with our gladness!
This is my slightly flowery paraphrase of Psalm 118:24. I did so originally to rescue it in my mind from the tyranny of the old Sunday school tune, but also to recapture the entire spirituality I suspected might be quarried from this one verse.
What I think it tells me is that each and every day I wake up to is utterly unique. It has never been before, it will never be again. It is a living work of art which God has mulled on and laboured over from eternity. Today is an installation filling the cosmos; an artful assemblage of an impossible number of moving parts and variables; a gratuitous explosion of creativity and beauty. Most of this beauty will go unseen by human eyes (and even that which is, is rarely given the appreciation it deserves). I guess God does all this for Godself. For the sheer heart-aching joy of it all. It is a welling up; a love-gift from the Father to the Son to the Spirit to the Father…
And then what I think the verse tells me is that I have been called into the symphony of this unique day as one of many equally unique participants. On waking my first task should be to consciously strike a little tuning fork at the head of my bed, and immediately climb – like a pyjama-ed note – onto the musical stave of being. As a fallen human I tend to sit discordant to the whole thing, I slide out flat or sharp. God can redeem even this, much as a jazz musician redeems a wrong note in the flow of her improv, but how much more beautiful to inhabit my role and play my part as best I can, for love of my composer.
Let’s suppose that my wife, as an anniversary gift, decided to choreograph my entire day. From waking to sleeping every detail had been thought through. She brings me breakfast in bed and tells me that she’s been out all night chalking messages on the pavement, cutting hedges into beautiful shapes, leaving little gifts for me to find, playing around with the lighting in rooms I shall enter, arranging for certain people to cross my path at just the right time. Wouldn’t I interact with such a day very differently? And yet, this is what I think the Psalmist is saying God does every day. And therefore shouldn’t I give myself to enjoying it a bit more and enriching it with my awareness and thankfulness? Shouldn’t I use the lens of my consciousness to magnify what God has done and is doing all around me? This is about the texture of living, it’s about tuning in and practising the presence of God. As Frank Laubach put it when describing his ‘game of minutes’: ‘My part is to live this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will, to make this hour gloriously rich.’
All sorts of things then flow from this, because it means we interact with reality in the faith that it isn’t just a confusion of random events, but an orchestrated and designed whole; a whole in which we may play an integral part. We become more available to the Spirit’s leading, and this is something which makes us less fearful, and more grateful, peaceful, hopeful, faithful, and fruitful. We become an increasingly useful tool in the hands of God for mission and ministry, and start to believe that maybe there are no co-incidences at all. So let’s enlarge today with the knowledge of the glory of God, and give ourselves over to his service afresh – what a lovely and incalculably privileged day it will be should we live it with God.