This is the Day

For no reason at all, the music and words of an old hymn entered my head and got stuck there.  I like the hymn, so it could be worse.  It is an upbeat hymn.  I don’t remember singing it as often as many of the other old hymns, but it is one I liked better than most of the others.

The hymn begins with the catchy words, “This is the day.”  Somehow that always resonated with me.  Of course, I would think, this is the day!  In fact, this is the only day I have.  And if you are alive, this is the only day you have, too.  I have already had yesterday.  It might have been one of the greatest days ever.  Or, it might have been absolutely lousy.  In either case, yesterday is over.  You can remember it, but it is over---it is past tense.  And of course, tomorrow has not yet come.  There is hope that I will get to tomorrow, but it is future tense.  This is the day.

As if that were not sufficient, the hymn repeats the little sentence: “This is the day, this is the day…”  And then comes one of my favorite affirmations.  “That the Lord has made,” affirms the hymn.  This is the day that the Lord has made.  However, I recognize this is an odd theological place for me.

Do I really---literally---think the Lord made this day?  And did God really make yesterday and is God standing by to make tomorrow in its turn?  Of course, I do not literally mean it, if it requires a God in some heavenly laboratory throwing another day on the potter’s wheel, as it were.  God is not in some daily manufacturing plant.

But I also know deep down that I certainly did not make this day.  That much I am very sure.  I did not make this day.  I revel in the fact that I went to sleep last night in the darkness of another concluded day.  Yesterday’s day ebbed into the darkness of night.  And somehow out of that darkness, sometimes out of that chaos of dark despair comes the light of another day!  It is a gift.  It is my grace and your grace.

I can wake up and complain, get dressed, and stumble into another routine day.  Or I can wake up, embrace the gift---this the day the Lord has made---and celebrate.  That is what the old hymn counsels.

That hymn continues.  “We will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it.”  This is a spiritual goal for me.  I want to learn how to wake up each day that the Lord has made and rejoice in it.  But I need to think about it for a moment.  What does it mean to “rejoice” in the day that the Lord has made?

It hit me!  If I am able to rejoice, that means I must have found some sort of “joy.”  The key to rejoicing is “joy.”  “This is the day that the Lord has made.”  That is a given.  It is a daily grace.  I don’t have to do anything to get this grace.

But I want to embrace the grace.  I want to dive so deeply into the grace of this day, which the Lord has made, that I experience joy.  The day is a given, but my experiencing it in joy is not.  I need to pay attention.  I need to cultivate my ability to live this day such that who I am and what I do become a source of joy.

I think we have the ability to create joy.  Of course, we might get lucky and joy just comes.  But for the most part, we create the joy.  We create joy by the way we look at things, by the way we participate in things, and the way we contribute to things.

That is pretty simple, but I will need practice.  I create joy by how I learn to look at things.  I create joy by how I participate in things.   And I create joy by how I contribute to things.  Fortunately, I have this day---the day that the Lord has made---to practice.     

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