I like to listen to sermons when I am stretching at the gym before my workout. It centers me to hear God's word preached while stretching and breathing. It is a nice way to enter a workout, putting the distractions of the kids who are downstairs in the childcare out of my mind. It is another way that I can find time to spend with God. It is one of my favorite parts of my workout.
When we lived in the Bay area we attended Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC) which has some amazing teachers, including the senior pastor John Ortberg. MPPC was one of the high points of our lives in the Bay Area. It was hard to say goodbye to that church, though we were so happy to come home to our wonderful church here in the Pacific Northwest. But because of technology I can still hear the Sunday sermon each week on my iPod. If you have not heard John Ortberg or Scotty Scruggs teach, you really should listen. You can find them online or you can subscribe to the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Sermon Cast in either audio or video podcasts at the iTunes store.
I write all this because I was listening last week to something Pastor John was teaching about prayer. It seems that prayer is all around me right now, as I am still working my way through the stack of prayer books I bought last fall and also our pastor just finished a series on prayer as well. Think God might be telling me something?
But what struck me as I was stretching and listening, was was not about prayer as much as it was about how we define a day. In Hebrew times, the Sabbath started at sundown. A new day began as the sun set, not as the sun rose as we often think today. This makes so much sense to me. As someone who is a night owl and doesn't like to go to bed early, I know that my day is often determined by how much sleep I got the night before, not how much sleep I am going to get tonight. My sleep, my meals, my quiet time at the end of the day is what really prepares me to face the next day. Any mom who is home all day with her kids will tell you that it feels like our day ends when Daddy walks in the door, or those kids are put to bed. That is when we are finally able to be ourselves for a few moments. That is when I feel like I am most alive. But then I am a night person.
I like this idea. If I thought of starting a new day as the sun set, would that change my perspective and possibly my behavior? If I thought of my day starting first with sleep would I better prepare myself for a good night's sleep? If I thought of the day starting with family time, rest, rejuvenation and then ending with my working hours, would that help me to see my priorities a little more clearly?
It was an interesting fact that I heard while listening to a sermon on my iPod while preparing to work out. It got me thinking. I saw my day in a different way. I thought about how God ordered the universe, how he set the world in order and how meant for us to order our days, our weeks and our lives. It got me thinking about ideas beyond myself. And that makes me feel alive.