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March 15, 2012
Can something worth reading be written in half an hour? It's worth a try.

The monks on my iPad are in the middle of vespers. It is as if their chilly chapel were just down the hall from me, and I were hearing them begin to chant without me as the day comes to an end. As if I were truant, not showing up in the place where I was supposed to be. But then I remember something important about praying the hours: those who pray them are doing so on behalf of those who aren't.

This thought fills me with a quiet and unexpected joy: someone is carrying me this evening. Voices on a recording, voices from a monastery far across the sea, voices of people I do not know and will never meet: They sing for me as I write, and my heart sings along. I am not estranged, not truant, not irredeemably wrong, wrong, wrong. The world turns without any input from me, and I can trust it. The day unfolds as it will, and the goodness of God far outweighs my shortcomings.

There is never a day in which I get it all done. There never has been, I don't think, not in my whole life. I imagine I will die clutching a fistful of uncompleted tasks. And the world will continue to turn.

A prayer book believed of many has come to us from the Anglican Church in New Zealand. From it, I often use this Night Prayer:

God. It is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys, new possibilities.
In your name we pray.

From A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinar o Aotearoa. Originally published: U.K.: W.Collins Publishers, 1989.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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