Pastor's Pen

Lay Up These Words In Your Heart

            Lydia loves to have us read to her. Sometimes we’ll repeat the same book 5 times in a row, but even when she lets us have some variety, there are only so many books in the house. Consequently, Magdalena and I have memorized a lot of stories, phrases, songs, and poems written for toddlers – as well as the various hymns for which we have board books. We recite them to each other even without looking in the book or magazine, and it shapes the way we speak – our language usage reflects the phrases we have become familiar with, our vocabulary and references have been altered. Humans are formed by repetition.

            In the same way, the command to learn and study Scripture includes this idea of formation. Frequently reading passages and committing them to memory engrains them into your behavior. A study of the Word God has given us trains us to speak His Word back to Him and helps form our prayer life. There was a time in Church history where most people were expected to have all the Psalms committed to memory as the Church’s prayerbook, and that formation shaped the way people prayed on their own.

            Likewise, the repetition within the liturgy seeks to form us. To engrain common prayers and chants and devotions into our regular rhythm of life so that when the need arises, you can instinctively pull the words of confession, of the Kyrie or the Nunc Dimittis, etc. out of your muscle memory. To habituate the relational aspect between us and God as His children so that it becomes second-nature to recognize that God pours His grace out into our lives, and we respond back with praise and thanksgiving. 

            So, as we enter into another great turning in the rhythm of the liturgical calendar this Easter season, let me challenge you to work on your devotional life as well. Be conscious of the formation that we seek to foment in our liturgical practice, but also make an effort to spend time in God’s Word to likewise let it shape the way you speak.

God’s Blessings,  
Pastor Biar