Today is the birthday of Dr. Karl Barth, the brilliant Swiss Theologian. He would have been 131 years old today. I would encourage you to to read or listen to something Barthian today. You can read the Barmen Confession here (statement from evangelical churches in German against the Nazi control church of the state in 1934), any of a number of his works can be found to read for free at Tyndale seminary’s Karl Barth reading room (a public domain version of The Humanity of God can be found there and it is wonderful), and you can listen to the 1962 Warfield Lectures at Princeton (I love the question and answer section primarily because it reminds me that seminarians have apparently always been kiss ups).
To quote Dr. Barth:
Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
I personally am joyful for how Dr. Barth has helped me to connected with the God Who desires to be known.
This past Sunday I encouraged those that make up Tapestry to join me in a modified “liturgy of the hours“. The hours (or Divine Office, Divine Hours, or any number of other names) are prayers and scripture readings that are said every three hours in certain Christian traditions. They start at midnight and then happen every three hours after. Their purpose is to continually direct our attention toward God. For as Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones wrote:
Whatever we focus on determines what we become.
So the hours help us to focus on Christ and hopefully become more like Jesus. I encouraged everyone to pick some moments during their day to stop and recognize that God is near. For me those times are 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm. I have various alarms set to remind me of the time. When I feel the alarm (I have my phone set to vibrate for these alarms), I take a moment out of whatever I am doing, or whoever I am with, and simply pray “Father, help me to see and know that you are here. In my circumstances right now you are here. Help me to see where you are.” That’s it.
It has been great and difficult at the same time. It has definitely redirected my thoughts a few times. I wasn’t thinking the best at a few moments and I had to change that because I was reminded that God was there. I have also discovered that if I am not focused on the hours happening it becomes easy for me to float right on through them. I have become aware of the time and how close the next hour is.
I’m trying this for a couple of weeks to see what happens. I’ve encouraged “threads” to join me and we’ll talk about it one Sunday.
SIDE NOTE – I took Montana out for her first ride with the top down in Buddy the Mustang today. She was pretty thrilled. Here’s a picture of my old gal of a basset hound to brighten your day.
I didn’t take this photo while driving. We had just stopped at Belt’s for Montana to get a pup cup with Pamela, who was already there.