One of the things I’ve noticed from the very beginning of going to the church service downstairs was a phrase used over and over again in prayers and sermons: “Thank you Lord for waking me up today.” This was an unfamiliar phrase to me, something I hadn’t really ever heard in my past–certainly not in church. Maybe it’s because it’s something we take for granted. Of course we’re going to wake up tomorrow, why wouldn’t we? Or because we think of it as something passive, something that simply just happens. I wake up. God doesn’t really play a part in that process, does he?
And there is the beauty of the prayer. We begin to realize that waking up is not a given. It is not just the scientific process in which our physical bodies (something separate from ourselves) instinctively know they’ve had enough sleep. Or it is not ascribed to the sound of an alarm clock. We have woken up this day by the grace of God. Our life is not fully within our control. Our life is not our own. Each new day is a gift.
I suppose one of the reasons it stands out to me so much is because it is one example of how the church downstairs helps me to see things that I normally just take for granted. Another time a woman prayed: “Thank you Lord, for a day we have not yet seen.” Far too often I approach my day by looking at what things are on my planner and think “well it’s another Thursday.” But this is a day I have not seen before. I take it for granted that it will be another day like any other. But we have not seen this day. Only the Lord has seen it and knows what is in store for us. And only with openness can we begin to see the things that might make this day different, that might change our lives in the small, summable ways that make up a good life.