by Chris Banescu -
In Life Together, the book that highlights the importance of Christian fellowship and community life centered on Christ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that the beginning of the day belongs to God. “At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it.” He exhorts us to silence all empty talk and distractions when we rise each day and instead let our first thoughts and words be offered to Jesus Christ, “to whom our whole life belongs.”
This is the same message that the Scriptures, wise men of God, the Orthodox Church, and the Christian Saints have taught and practiced throughout the ages. The Gospels bear witness that Jesus Christ himself started each day with prayer. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
“For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and His wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before Him.
Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distractions and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to Him to whom our whole life belongs. “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).”
With remarkable frequency the Scriptures remind us that the men of God rose early to seek God and carry out His commands, as did Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua (cf. Gen.19.27, 22.3; Ex.9.13, 24.4; Josh.3.1, 6.12, etc.). The Gospel, which never speaks a superfluous word, says of Jesus himself: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1.35). Some rise early because of restlessness and worry; the Scriptures call this unprofitable: “It is vain for you to rise early… to eat the bread of sorrows” (Ps.127.2). But there is such a thing as rising early for the love of God. This was the practice of the men of the Bible.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in Life Together
Christ proclaimed: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Similarly the words of the Evangelist John speak to us regarding Jesus Christ, the Word and Son of God, the everlasting Light of all mankind. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). Christ was and is the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).
Let the uncreated light of Christ destroy all the spiritual and material darkness in our lives each and every day of our lives!