I am an early riser by nature. I always have been. I was usually one of the first ones up in my home growing up and my Dad called me perky in the morning. When I wake up, I am up and ready to go. I am with someone who is not an early riser, she is quite the opposite to me in that but most mornings I savor my morning hours. I use that time to think, write, pray, study, jog and catch up with my people in a variety of ways. While we have been in Spain I have been savoring this time to watch the sun come up as well. I took this picture just moments ago. It is a bit harder to get up when the world is still dark and yet as I watch the sun come up, it is totally worth it to be around for these moments.
This morning I am up early because I started my Advent daily devotional again. Over 200 people will get an email each morning from me with scripture and thoughts throughout our extended Advent time together. By the way, I can add you to the list if you aren’t on it and want my daily musings. Just let me know your email address. This was something I started in 2009 because I wanted more daily scriptural discipline in my life. I get to wake up each morning and delve into scripture. It started just for me and a few people and after all these years it has become something that I am eager for. I get feedback and it feels as though we are in this together.
Up until just a bit ago, Sunday mornings were the mornings I got up even earlier. Sundays were my heavy work days so I took great joy in getting up even earlier and getting ready for the church day. When I was working in churches, I got to church way before everyone else to breath in the peace and still before the chaos of Sunday morning. I walked through the Sanctuary and prayed over the spaces. I would pray in my office and look over my notes yet again, remembering and practicing. I walked through each part of the worship service in my mind so that my intentionality wouldn’t flee the minute anything unexpected happened. It was a sacred time for me and the minute the first person entered the building the day would become a different kind of sacred.
There are pieces I deeply miss to this ritual and pieces I don’t miss but mostly I have been noticing how different my Sunday mornings are now. I am realizing that I still am finding spaces of peace and stillness to craft intentionality and work on my theology and yet sometimes I miss where I can put that into practice during the Sunday day. In Berlin, I haven’t really found the place where I meet up with God all that regularly. I have linked myself to a church and yet that feels like routine rather than thin place. It seems easier by the sea, but isn’t that the case in so many natural spaces?
Sunday morning now looks in some ways more open and yet in some ways it seems limiting to a pastor who misses her role. It is all good information to have for the larger discernment process. I understand now why people don’t go to church on Sunday morning and the little things that used to annoy me when people say them, I now totally understand.
If the time isn’t right for my schedule, I may just not get there. If I can’t find the time of service on the website, it becomes more difficult. Yes, I value a church that lets me bring my coffee with me into the sanctuary above other things. If I feel like walking along the canal or the sea is feeling more holy today, that is what I will do…or a big brunch with close friends might feel more like community today. And sometimes Sunday morning is the only chance I get to spend some intentional time with my beloved. I get all of that and yet I love the church and I love the community and it will be transformed.
So Sunday morning for me this morning is about writing, watching the sun with peace and stillness, and getting ready for an adventure along the Spanish coast.
What does it look like for you?