SpiritStirrer

sojourner, hearer, & follower of Jesus

Category: Daily Office

The Gospels in 90 Days

As readers of this space know I am a believer in systematic reading of scripture. I have used different reading plans throughout the years from the fast and furious bible in 90 to the two year daily office lectionary. For me is about having a method to my engagement with the narrative of faith. Last year I began 2011 with the Bible in 90 days, this year I have invited my staff and leadership team at the church to join me in reading the gospels in 90 days (actually 89 days, one chapter a day).

My prayer is that we’ll have a common narrative as we engage our leadership this year. Each time I engage the story of faith I am amazed at what I hear, learn, and struggle with, I am sure this time it will not be any different. I am not promising a daily blog on the chapter of the day but I can guarantee that I will have things to say along the way. I am excited to be reading the gospels in The Voice New Testament translation, a different translation forces us to hear the story in a different way, and this one is truly different.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, who married a woman named Mary. It was Mary who gave birth to Jesus, and it is Jesus who is the Savior, the Anointed One, the Liberating King.

Matthew 1:16 (The Voice)

Jesus is the savior, the anointed one, the one who frees us from sin and death. I tell this to myself often as I engage in ministry everyday. It is difficult to recognize our need for a savior, our need for an anointed one, it is even more difficult to recognize our need to be freed. This is why we need this story so desperately, this is also why we need the community of faith to remind us of our common need for God.

In my own life I am still trying to understand what this savior means in my everyday life. And as a father of three children I also struggle with what it means to raise our children in the way that leads to life. Then we read the narrative and recognize that we are not alone, that many others have struggled with it too.

In the end a savior is needed, we need to be made whole, need to be freed. I am thankful that a way forward was provided for, that the way of redemption has been provided. It is amazing to hear, read, and experience how God provided for this way.

I know that this story will be transformational, it always is! Let the journey begin . . .

Bible in 90 – Day 39: Compline

Safe and sound, I lie down and sleep,
for You alone, O Lord, keep me secure.

Psalm 4:9

©2010 Todd Rossnagel

As a child I used to be terrified of the dark. I would need a nightlight in my room and my sleep would go better if I had access to a flashlight under my pillow. Sometimes the darkness would still overcome me and night terrors would awake me and not let me go back to sleep. I would go to my parent’s room and want comfort, one night after a series of nights of the same fear, the same terrors, my father opened my bible and read Psalm 4 and told me to commit it to my memory. I have recited this psalm countless times since then . . .

While in college I was introduced to the ancient practice of praying the hours. I was hungry and searching for an incarnate way to grow in my relationship with God. I bought a small prayer book at a local Episcopal bookstore that included Morning Prayer, Noon Prayer, Evening Prayer, and a night office called Compline. The practice of praying these “offices” changed my life!

Imagine my surprise when I first opened my little book to the night office of Compline and its main Psalm was Psalm 4. I was reminded of all those nights when I could not sleep and I recited that psalm time and time again until the terrors of the night would leave me.

It turns out that Compline is about giving our lives to God at the end of the day. We have lived the day as a blessing from God and now as we get ready to sleep we give our whole lives, not knowing if tomorrow will come, knowing that no matter what, our lives belong to God.

The rhythm of that Psalm and that office still guides our night ritual at home. Every night we gather with the children and pray the ancient antiphon of Compline: “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”

Every night we declare that our lives belong to God, every night we put our trust in the one who is the light of the world!

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If you want to know more about the office of Compline click here.

If you want to know more about the practice of daily prayer check out the Order of St. Luke.

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