I have come to draw significant strength and encouragement from the Daily Office over the last few years since being ordained. I tend to follow a pattern of using Morning Prayer from Common Worship in the morning and then something else for the evening … which could be COTA liturgy, or stuff from the Northumbria Community, or Moot and sometimes Common Worship again.
Morning Prayer for the next few weeks (called the season from All Saints Day until the day before the First Sunday of Advent ….. (why use one word can you can make up a whole sentence!!))
I know some people struggle with set prayers and saying the same wortds over and over again. I find, however, that as I say familiar words, or words set down, that God breaks in in some unexpected ways. I have been massively struck, challenged and resonated with the words of the canticle, A Song of the new Creation, said each morning during this season:
1‘I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.
2Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
3‘Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
4‘Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
5‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
6‘The people whom I formed for myself,
that they might declare my praise.’
As a pioneer this is a canticle that I have read, re-read, loved, hated, been inspired by and been frustrated by. But these words of God, that come from Isaiah 43, remind me that God is working, and that God is working in fresh new ways.
I received two very encouraging emails this morning and one spoke of a time spent in Jordan trying to look for Canaan as Moses did. This person shared how their view was obscured due to the dense pollution that is now there, and then went on to offer maybe we need to struggle through the pollution to see the promised land.
I believe that person to be very wise. Not just in my patch, but in most places, there is pollution, both obvious and more subtle, that we may well need to see through, or plough through, before we can start to see where it is God is taking us or what in fact God is doing.
One thing, however, I am sure of …. I may not yet quite perceive it …. but God is doing a new thing …..