Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

Psalm 96

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the whole earth.
Sing to the LORD and bless his Name;
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations
and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
he is more to be feared than all gods.
As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols;
but it is the LORD who made the heavens.
Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence!
Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!
Ascribe to the LORD, you families of the peoples;
ascribe to the LORD honor and power.
Ascribe to the LORD the honor due his Name;
bring offerings and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness;
let the whole earth tremble before him.
Tell it out among the nations: “The LORD is King!
he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.
Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy
before the LORD when he comes,
when he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with his truth.

How do you wake up in the morning? Are you a slow riser, one of those people whose brain only really gets going sometime after 10:00 am? Are you a morning person who hits the ground running well before the sun rises? Maybe you are somewhere in-between. Whatever the case, do you have a general attitude with which you greet the day?

I tend to be a morning person. My favorite time of day is the morning hours before the rest of world really gets going. It’s time I selfishly defend as time to think, plan, pray, and read. That being said, I tend to be someone who wakes up and steps out of bed thinking about the problems I have to deal with that day, the issues that need to get settled, the challenges that will more than likely come my way. My natural inclination is to be a problem solver, and I tend to greet the day thinking about the problems that need to get solved.

In our psalm for this morning, the message that speaks to me most powerfully is a simple one. It is a reminder that the day isn’t best begun by thinking about problems, it is best begun by taking stock of blessings. “Sing to the Lord a new song . . . let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad . . .”

Every morning we are given the gift of another day, a gift we are not guaranteed, a gift we should not take for granted. It is not hyperbole to say that the gift of each new day is nothing short of a miracle. It is precious beyond words and yet we so often take it for granted. Part of my discipline for these days of Lent is to greet the day not with problem solving on my mind but with gratitude in my heart and thanksgiving on my lips. Part of my discipline is to start my day taking stock of all the ways that I am blessed before I ever begin to consider all the problems I need to address. In the words of an old cliché, gratitude needs to be my attitude.

It really makes a difference when I try to sing a new song. It grounds my life and my understanding of the work that lies in front of me in a way that gives me a new clarity. I experience a certain unassailable joy when I realize that immense blessings undergird my life, no matter how many problems I face. It is a joy that can’t be touched no matter what the day may bring, and during these days of pandemic don’t we need all the joy we can find?


Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always
those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without
you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.