In my role managing the production of the North American version of the Daily Texts, I am always looking for ways to best describe how to approach and use this book. So when I hear someone discussing the Daily Texts and what it means to them—or better yet, a way to approach bringing the texts into their day-to-day devotions—I’m all ears.
One such opportunity arose at the Moravian Music Festival this summer. Each morning a different Moravian pastor led devotions. On the Thursday morning of the Festival, it was Bishop Graham Rights’ turn.
Like many devotions and Moravian services, he started by sharing the Daily Texts for that day: from 1 Samuel 15:22 – Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice; and from Luke 11:28 – Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
But that morning, Brother Graham then went a step further. He began to talk about how the texts for that July day spoke to how we can approach the Daily Texts. In his devotions, he continued:
“These verses today speak to us a message about how we hear the Daily Texts that we read every day. These verses remind us that we are not only to read these texts, but also really to hear them – to hear them as messages to us and then to respond in obedience to our understanding of what we perceive that message to us to be.
“United Methodist ministers Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck collaborated in producing two books for personal devotions published by The Upper Room: A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants and A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People. In each book, they suggest that when you read a passage of scripture, you should ‘read it not as a portion of a book written for everyone, but as a letter written just to you.’ They suggest asking certain questions:
- What is this passage telling me about God?
- What is this scripture telling me about myself?
- What is God saying to me right now?
- What does this scripture say to me about my service as a follower of Christ at this time?”
When Brother Graham finished his devotions, I immediately asked him if I could share his comments. (Note: He graciously said yes…otherwise, I wouldn’t have printed this!) I wanted to share his words as another meaningful approach to the daily part of the Daily Texts.
Brother Graham’s concise, clear way to describe the Daily Texts—to hear them as messages to us—makes them personal. Yes, they’re read by hundreds of thousands of people every day, in more than 50 languages. It’s the same Daily Texts no matter where in the world you are or how you access them. Yet their power comes in how they speak to each person differently, offering personal connection and individual meaning.
The ideas shared by our United Methodist counterparts are also instructive and helpful in approaching the Daily Texts. The idea of reading the verses each day as “a letter written just to you” can add to that sense of personal connection and help us apply the lessons in the words to our daily lives.
Since hearing Brother Graham’s devotion, I’ve also tried using the four questions shared when I read my Daily Texts. I find it especially useful when, on the surface, the personal meaning of that day’s Bible verses isn’t immediately clear. Taking a moment to consider the verse in light of those four questions can help add meaning and scope.
I know everyone has a different way of bringing the Daily Texts into their lives. For me, that way keeps changing as I discover different ways to approach this faith resource from the worldwide Moravian Church. Brother Graham’s devotion on that July morning offered another way for me to keep the Daily Texts a fresh source of wonder for my faith.
In places around the globe, the myriad translations of the 2018 Daily Texts—including the North American versions arriving at IBOC’s shipping department later this month—will begin finding their way to faithful Christians, Moravian and non-Moravian alike.
And as they do, I hope that as each day’s message is presented, faithful readers heed Bishop Rights’ words: “We are not only to read these texts, but also really to hear them – to hear them as messages to use and then respond in obedience to our understanding of what we perceive that message to us to be…”
In this issue we share articles about Spiritual Companioning groups forming in the Northern Province; an effort by North Carolina Moravians to learn from and understand their local Muslim brothers and sisters; work in a congregation to make serving Lovefeasts easier; and more. I also invite you to read the Rev. Cory Kemp’s thoughts on how she includes the Daily Texts in her daily routine on the following page. For additional information on the Daily Texts and how they can be a part of your daily devotions visit www.moravian.org.
You may have noticed that the production schedule on the last several issues of The Moravian has slipped, and that we’re running behind. Last year, we made some changes to our production processes in an effort to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. While those changes did make the magazine more cost-effective, it has negatively impacted our ability to maintain our production schedule. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to edit and produce The Moravian, and I’m proud of the quality of the magazine so far this year; it’s the timing that has me disappointed. Please know that we are re-evaluating our production processes to ensure the timely delivery of future issues to Moravians here in the U.S and Canada.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. I hope you enjoy this issue.