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Speaking to the Soul: As in the Day

Speaking to the Soul: As in the Day

Week of Proper 11, 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 41, 52 (morning) // 44 (evening)

Joshua 7:1-13

Romans 13:8-14

Matthew 26:36-46

Paul poses a moral challenge to his readers in today’s passage from Romans: To live the whole of their lives as if in broad daylight, rather than sometimes changing or covering their behavior as if it were night. Paul expects his audience to be familiar with a cultural habit of maintaining sobriety, diligence, and agreeableness during the day, but indulging our appetites and moods with the sunset. It’s as if we can keep our act up for only so long.

But Paul wants his readers to keep their daytime selves going around the clock. The way he sees the world, the “night” has passed, and the glorious “day” of Christ’s return is fast approaching. While Paul’s estimates may have been off, his guidance is still worth our consideration: “the night is far gone, the day is near . . . let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.”

Of course, it would be easy for Paul’s advice to degenerate into a kind of joyless moralism, with no room for fun, pleasure, or spirited conversation. A more sustainable version of his call might be to live with greater integrity. Instead of restricting our good and healthful choices, our patience with others, and our better selves to certain times, places, or social settings, how can we live more consistently across night and day, work and home, public and personal, or other borders in our lives? As Paul writes, “it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep,” and to live as our undivided selves.

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

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