Every morning I honor three familiar Moravian traditions: Reading the Moravian Daily Texts, writing in my personal journal and drinking coffee.
I love that these traditions, devotional study, personal reflection on God’s activity and fellowship with a favorite beverage, have been part of our community for generations. Each one offers a steadfast reminder of God’s love over the course of time. More so, they are avenues of grace, vital practices that cultivate my faith. They assist me in knowing, loving and serving God in the life I am living now.
As I sip my coffee, I often think of God as Great Mystery, which requires me to pay attention and listen as a disciple. A wonderful Roald Dahl quote hanging on my refrigerator helps point me along this path of deeper awareness: “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in the magic will never find it.”
Compassion, kindness, generosity of spirit and forgiveness—these are all first nurtured by observing the way Jesus interacted with people, then seeing how people responded to Him. That is God’s grace in action. Its fluidity and beauty isn’t magic, but it surely feels like that when we trust ourselves, God and the very human examples we are privy to in so many of our daily readings, that are also still so relevant in our own relationships.
God’s wisdom is unconventional, and it takes intention and practice to experience the full power of its richness in this unfolding plan. Even within a basic routine, I don’t know what the day will bring. But Great Mystery teaches me to see everything as being done for me, not to me, and always in ways that make sense to me.
These daily verses you and I share, and the reflections I write in response to them, have taught me several important life lessons.
One lesson is that how I talk to myself matters. Harsh criticism rarely helps and often hinders. The prophet Jeremiah, sharing God’s message with those experiencing the Babylonian exile, wrote, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). My internal fluency is improving.
Another lesson is to hear other people’s words without attaching how I feel to what I am hearing. Taking a deep breath and asking a question when I don’t understand or need more information are helpful in discerning what someone meant, or didn’t mean, in how they used their words.
This lesson’s close cousin is to remember that each of us thinks in our own way, and usually not the way that I think. It is here that I am called to claim the full truth of God’s equal and abundant love for each of us. To stay in this stride is to always do my best to pay attention for and respond to God’s activity in my life.
As I continue to sip my coffee, copying the weekly watchword, daily verses and my own watchword for the year, I also write about the intricate weaving of conversations and events that reveal God as “Incomprehensible Orchestration” all around me. I love catching onto what God has done, how I have welcomed my own participation, and sometimes, how my fears may have kept me on the edge of a great step forward.
Incomprehensible Orchestration is about faith as a verb.
Faith is risk and with risk comes fear. But making the effort to understand how God has worked makes seeing God in action much easier. And with that ease comes greater trust the next time the chance comes to act. This is the greatest lesson my morning devotional time has taught me: perseverance proves out in the end when I trust what I know to be God in action.
Although my devotional time is private, I’m pleased to spend time with people you know, too.
Remember Lydia? We visited earlier this summer. She was a purple cloth dealer from Thyatira and a worshiper of God. She listened intently, eagerly, to what Paul had to say, having allowed God to open her heart. Fellowship is something that we Moravians hold dear. Lydia is someone I want to have coffee with again soon.
Reading the Daily Texts, keeping journals and drinking coffee in fellowship with one another are beautiful Moravian traditions. They remain fresh as powerfully rich transformational resources. They are custom tools by which we shape ourselves, grow our community, by God’s grace in action among us.
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom and joy.
The Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries of the Southern Province hosts a “Spotlight Blog” at http://unitasfratrum.wordpress.com. This blog features inspired and inspiring writings by Moravians on a broad variety of topics. This entry originally appeared in late August.