Speaking to the Soul: Day after Day, Again and Again

Week of 3 Epiphany, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 40, 54 (morning) // 51 (evening)

Genesis 17:15-27

Hebrews 10:11-25

John 6:1-15

Today’s second reading opens with a picture of futility. According to the letter to the Hebrews, priests in the temple do the same things over and over again, but to no avail: “every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins.” The priests report for duty, carry out their rituals, and find that sin is never removed. Their understanding of God and their own hearts and minds somehow remain unchanged.

Contrast this “day after day . . . again and again” approach with that of Christ, who “offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” What the temple priests do over and over again, Christ has done once and for all.

What aspects of our own daily lives are stuck in a loop? What do we seem to do day after day, again and again, that gets us nowhere? Many good habits and spiritual practices can, of course, be part of our daily routine. Their purpose is not to hold us in place, though, but to set us in motion, so that we can “enter the sanctuary . . . by the new and living way,” and “approach with a true heart.”

Today let’s offer to God the parts of our lives that feel repetitive and circular, and pray that even these things can lead our lives forward, drawing us into God’s presence and transforming our hearts.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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