By the time you read this, I will have crossed the half-century line in 2015 as one of the first members of Generation X* to reach this milestone. And as that day approaches, the specter of “over 50” has triggered more reflection, soul-searching and hope for the future than usual.
My birthday falls on Ash Wednesday this year. It seems an interesting coincidence that my fifth decade begins on the same day as Lent 2015, another time of reflection, soul-searching and hope for the future. And during this Lenten season, I’ll be continuing something I started at the beginning of 2015 to help me record those reflections on my work, my life, my faith and my future.
For the first time since I began working with the Daily Texts here at the IBOC, I bought myself a copy of the 2015 Daily Texts Journal edition. Based on the testimony of others, I’ve often promoted the benefits of using the Journal to track one’s thoughts, ideas, actions and plans in the context of the daily watchwords, hymns and prayers. This year seemed a good time to try it for myself.
In case you haven’t seen a Daily Texts Journal, it is an edition of the Texts that includes the same watchwords, hymn texts and prayers as the standard editions in a spiral bound version. Each day’s page includes space (and lines) for writing. Introduced in 2001, the Journal offers a creative, insightful way to interact with the Daily Texts.
Each day, I track my time in the office and on the road, enter key accomplishments, jot new ideas or extensions of existing ones, write thoughts on projects and plans and record brief reflections on how I feel about life, work, family and faith.
Now, I could just use a notebook or blank-page journal to do all of this, but using the Daily Texts Journal for this exercise has advantages that those blank pages can’t offer.
First, it gives me my daily dose of the Daily Texts. As I gather my thoughts and put them on paper, I read the Scripture passages, contemplate the hymns and say the prayer for each day.
Second, it educates and guides my thoughts for the day. If I’m at a loss for what to write for the day, I look to the text for inspiration. Works every time!
Third, it encourages me to reflect and write every day. As a writer and editor, I’m dealing with words all the time. Rarely, however, do I get to write for myself. The texts give that gentle nudge (or hearty push) to write stuff down.
And finally, it gives me a record of what I’ve done and when I did it. With our busy lives going in many different directions, what we actually accomplish on any given day is tough to keep in our memories. By recording what each day brings, it’s easier to look back on just how much we can get done—or not, depending on the day—and how much more we have to do. And to look back in the light of Scripture, hymns and prayers makes the record that much more meaningful.
The prayer in the 2015 Daily Texts for my birthday reads, “As we prepare for the solemn time of Lent, help us grow closer to you. Teach us about the life of your Son so that we may better understand the sacrifice he made for us. We look toward Easter with anticipation and hope. Amen.” Sounds like a good way to experience Lent—and life in general.
If you’re looking for a way to chronicle your days in a uniquely Moravian way, I invite you to consider the Daily Texts Journal. So far, I’m finding the experience a very positive step. In December, I will be able to review the words of each day to see just how far I’ve come in 12 months … and just how blessed my continuing faith journey during this big year has been.
Looking back on my first month’s writings, I can see the seeds of what’s appearing in this issue of the Moravian Magazine. In this month’s issue, we share stories about a church in Minnesota helping to feed local children; technology helping to share Easter Sunrise in Winston-Salem with listeners around the globe; the profession of faith that is our Easter Morning liturgy; the legacy of John Hus; mission happenings in Tanzania and Nicaragua; and more.
As you reflect on the work and faith of your Moravian congregations and agencies during Lent and beyond, please share with us at the Moravian Magazine so that we can continue to chronicle the efforts and joys of our Church throughout North America and the world.
We wish you a blessed Lenten journey and joyous Easter season.
* Many demographers consider “Generation X” as those born between 1965 and 1980.