I've been doing the quiet time thing lately, carving out a few minutes to pause and read and pray. I don't like moving through the day without creating some space, and these last few weeks in particular have had me hungry for silence and for Scripture.
Sometimes Scripture gets abused in the circles I run in. Sometimes it gets used as a weapon, or a rule book, or a primary source for arguments. I think I've let those tactics keep me away from the text, afraid of what I might do "on behalf" of the living and active Word. (Or-a much greater fear-of what the living and active Word might do to me.)
But I've gently opened my blue Bible again, letting a web-based study serve as a guide into the thin-line pages. The study is small: 14 days in total, just a few sheets of paper stapled together with a handful of questions on each page. It seemed harmless, really, especially when you're already the introspective, reflective type.
And then came Day 6.
Just two passages to read: Daniel 6, a mind-blowing account of a faithful man in a position of power, and Psalm 119:18. One verse! Who said quiet time couldn't fit into a modern woman's lifestyle?
My journaling proceeds as usual. I'm instructed to look up dictionary definitions of words like "intentional" and write about characters in the Bible who demonstrated "intentional" pursuit of God. It's all well and good, and then comes the last suggestion of the entry:
Write your own version of Psalm 119:18 as a prayer to use as you approach God's Word intentionally.
Oh, no. No, no, no. Little statements like these are what's been plaguing my community for years. Write your own version of Scripture. Tell it how you see it. Bring your context and experience and cultural moment into its pages. I hate that task. It frightens me with its audacity.
Who am I to rewrite Spirit-filled words? Eugene Peterson?
No, I am not. I am a woebegone pilgrim with bad posture and a prideful heart.
But I am also a rule-follower, so I do what the study guide asks. I read these hallowed words: "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law," and I think about how much I don't want to do this. I don't want to translate the mother tongue of David's poetry into my measly musings.
I do it anyway.
And I pray it out-my self-made verse-out and over the things I encounter during my day.
Lift the veil, God. I want to be amazed by what You've set in motion.
There's a sheet of cookie dough. It's just store bought, nothing special. The bottoms burn to a crisp when I place it on the wrong rack in our apartment-sized oven.
But when the veil is lifted, it is a sweet invitation. It is the means by which I get to welcome fifteen women into my home, to hear them speak and laugh and see with my own eyes that they are well.
There's a white flower. It's not going into a bridal bouquet; it's not even coming home with me. Summer warmth is fading fast, and this flower will fade along with it.
But when the veil is lifted, it is an ivory gift on an anniversary. It is part of a landscape I've come to love, and a sign that beauty doesn't always need to be handled or possessed to be noticed.
There's a "Where's Lacy?" sign outside our door. I forget to use it at least once a day, and I'm not even sure my residents know what it's for.
But when the veil is lifted, it is a handmade map that leads to buried treasure. It is a window into my heart and an indication of what makes my daily rhythms meaningful. It is a sign of what keeps me rooted and reminds me that right here, I have place and purpose.
Lift the veil, O God, I pray.
I hear my mind offer up the request as I go from thing to thing. As a resident visits the emergency room. As my father calls and leaves another message. As students protest while others file into the Chapel. As colder winds change the leaves from green to red.
I want to be amazed by what You've set in motion.
This is only my version, my measly musing on one verse from a Psalm. But when the veil is lifted, I see how the very breath behind every word I speak is a gracious gift from You.