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Grace and Schedules – A Reflection

February 9, 2022
A latte that I enjoyed in Florence, Alabama on day one of our journey of Sabbath rest

A friend of ours said today in an email “May the Schedule Demon not find you for the entire trip.” Denise and I have felt a lightness of spirit and absolutely no fear as we began this journey of refreshment and renewal.

For decades I have been scheduled and over scheduled in my own life. In the military my schedule was, pardon the pun, quite regimented. Meetings, planning and preparation for contingency operations, and other functions was a part of the daily routine. Worship and program planning were also a big part of that phase of my life. Of course the schedule would go “out the window” if I was called to respond to plane crashes, suicides, domestic disturbance calls, and calls to go to the jail or hospitals for emergency ministry.

In the church, people would often ask how I scheduled my days. At that point, I would chuckle and tell them this joke which was more truth than joke. Want to make God laugh? Tell Her your plans! Flexibility was and is crucial to daily ministry whilst still keeping that schedule going.

Now, the schedule is this: live in the present moment. Reflect and act instead of the typical instantaneous reflex reaction to whatever is before me. When I read the following portion of Thomas Merton’s journal entry on February 24, 1966 it hit close to home.

I need perhaps to be less preoccupied with them (his own spiritual preoccupations) to show that one can be free of them, and go one’s own way in peace. But there is inculcated in us such a fear of being out of everything, out of touch, left behind. This fear is a form of tyranny, a law—and one is faced with a choice between this law and true grace, hidden, paradoxical, but free. February 24, 1966, Learning to Love: The Journals of Thomas Merton (vol six, 1966-1967)

The lyrics from the song, “Day by Day“ from the musical Godspell came to my mind and perhaps this is where we find the hidden, paradoxical, but free grace Merton desired.

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
Day by Day

Dear reader, may you find the opportunity to break free of scheduling constraints, if even for a few minutes, to be present and listen to the unforced rhythms of grace. (Matthew 11:28, The Message translation Bible Gateway)

  1. Breathe


    Live long and prosper

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