This is what rising and shining looks like at camp.
The Wednesday Word Devotional – “Rejoice”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries
I am a morning person. I love mornings and I am a LOT for the people around me who do not love mornings. At camp, I am tasked with leading campers in signing Rise and Shine at morning watch before breakfast. There are many verses to the song, but the chorus goes like this:
SO…. rise and shine and give God your glory, glory.
RISE and SHINE and give God your glory, glory.
Children of the Lord.
We jump up (enthusiastically) when we sing RISE, put our hands up in the air when we sing SHINE, and wave them back and forth when we sing GIVE GOD YOUR GLORY, GLORY.
Imagine if we all started our mornings singing and praising God with such exuberance! Imagine if we gave God the glory before each day began— even before we knew how it would go.
Pastor David preached on Psalm 118 on Sunday. He shared the part that we are all familiar with which is verse 24: This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. That is the feel-good part of the psalm. But if we read the psalm in its entirety, we understand that the psalmist had been through some stormy days. Pastor David made us think about this psalm (which is a song that we have all sung) a little bit differently. Instead of the emphasis being on the DAY, he suggests that we emphasize LORD. This is the day that the LORD has made. If we focus on the beautiful sunrise (and all sunrises are beautiful, aren’t they?) instead of the never-ending list of what comes after the sun comes up, how might our days be different?
I started writing this devotional in the dark, before the sun came up. As I reflected on the psalm and what it has to teach me (and hopefully y’all), I felt a great sense of peace. I am writing this on a Monday morning. The whole week is ahead, and I can tell you that it is already planned out, nearly to the minute. My calendar is full of plans. MY plans! So, I am pushing the [pause] button right here to focus on God. God made this day and God made me. No matter how this particular day ends, the sun will come up on a new day tomorrow — a day that the LORD has made. Of this I am pretty certain. God will get me through this day and the week ahead as well — the good stuff, the crummy stuff, and the hard stuff.
Like all weeks, I am sure things will not unfold according to the way I have planned them. I am sure priorities will shift, lists will change, appointments will be moved. But, in this moment, I am focused on today. I invite you to do the same. I also invite you to think about these questions while giving thanks for the fact that this day (and every day) is a gift from God:
What beauty do you observe around you on this day that the Lord has made?
What plans have you made to spend time with God today?
What is the weather report in your life today? Are you feeling sunny? Is there a chance of rain? Maybe even a monsoon?
What clouds do you feel looming in the distance and how will you lean on God if they drift into your life today?
What do you need to give to God to be able to enjoy the blessings of this day?
When is the last time you watched the sun rise? Consider setting your alarm to catch it tomorrow and starting your day with the Lord. Hint: the sun is up before 6am these days.
Lord thank you for this day which you have made and the possibilities that it brings. Thank you for the sun that both rises and sets according to your design. Thank you for each beloved child of yours which I will encounter as I go about my day. Help me to recognize where I can be a blessing, as well as those who have been sent to bless me. I thank you for this day and I understand there will never be another day just like today. For that I rejoice! Amen.