Rev. Dick is pastor of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Standale, Michigan.
If you are a Grace Life person, you are a morning person. You are a lover of morning. For it is the time of glories. You just have to get up. You have to be there among those morning glories. To observe them, smell them, listen to them, touch them, and drink them in. To enjoy them. So those glories become yours. So you are glorified for another day.
What are those morning glories? Why do we not want to miss them? Why especially in the morning of our grace life, our youth, and of this new year, do we want to learn to be morning persons? Here’s what, and why, and why….
Morning is a teacher. She has lessons. She talks. She gestures. She makes lots of power points. She makes the lecture circuit, even round the world.
Now this, of course, is no ground for our getting up to hear her. She may, after all, be a bore. She is, we suspect, a bothersome disciplinarian—who not only would rouse us from our slumber, but call us to attention, before, even, the coffee is made.
But wait. Morning is a teacher appointed by God. She is qualified by Him, and tenured, methinks, till the time when there is no night. She is old, to be sure, but she never just turns the pile of her lessons over, and to drone on. And she’s never out of touch. She is a lovely lively teacher of glories. She expects a lot, to be very sure, but children of God love to hear her reveille and her bell, and they do run to her class—sometimes in their pajamas.
God Himself would teach us by His Adjunct Professor Morning. He has declared in His Word that His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23). That salvation joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5). And that the Grace Life woman who has the heart of God resolves that the Lord would hear her prayer in the morning (Ps. 5:3).
Noble Professor indeed! For wonderful instruction!
What is it, the lesson of Morning, God’s own lesson?
It is simply this: the gospel. Morning is a preacher teacher of the good news!
For consider: morning is the end…of the night.
Night is bad time. Rats scurry about. Lions bite. At night. Foolish men stagger about. Lecher women of the night bite. At night. The devil, the Bible tells us, is the Prince of this night. The persons of his good pleasure and darkness are there, in the dark, doing their unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:8ff.).
Bad time, the night! And especially because Some One shows His hatred of it and wrath in it. Darkness is the misty place and appointed nighttime where and when God deals, in holy anger, with sinners. The darkness of God’s wrath, once a plague upon Egypt, is His blinding of twenty-first century sinners. It shall be hell, outer-darkness, for all lovers of night!
But morning! The end of the darkness. That is the principle lesson of the Teacher Morning. Morning light! The end of the darkness. Decisive time. The light dispels the night. There cannot be both. Light, morning light takes over. Darkness must give way, and be gone.
Lesson of Christ, this breaking of day. When He comes, the people who sit in the darkness of God’s wrath, and in the long dim Old light, see a great light. When He dies, yes even when that Light goes out under the extinguishing wrath of God, we see the great light dispelling the debt and the depth and the depravity and the danger and the demise of our darkness, our sin. And then that Sun, gone down, also rises! He rises, dear readers, as the Life-giving Sun. Our Sun, our Life. With healing in His wings. It is the dawn of Grace and Truth which come by Jesus only, with that Sun Rise only. He is our Morning, and our Life. Without His coming there is still the chaos of devils and the night life of death. Because of His coming…light and life!
You know that, young reader, do you not? Then you must know this: Morning will teach you in many ways this gospel of Christ.
The Spirit and the Morning,
Will speak of the Savior,
the Risen Sun.
Dew of the morning? That mystery moisture quietly appearing in the dead of night? Picture of grace, this—Christ grace. To us blades of grace and wilted flowers grace comes like dew while it is dark, while we are dry. And that this morning dew clings, so beautifully, so delicately, so graciously to the bent and to the wilted? That is God who bedecks. God who clings. God who will not let us go till He has blessed us. God whose blessings renew the face of our parched ground, of our dying life.
Morning. Time when the sun slaps the cold away, or allows it to linger and to slap us awake—either way to invigorate, and to rouse us for the new day. Just like the Holy Spirit, no? Lord and Giver of Life. Revelator. Revivalist. Sent forth to rouse and renew the sleepy Christian. To throw the covers off. And to get up and going!
Calm of the morning? That there is. The time when lakes are the best paintings of mountains and sky and cloud. The time when the rush of life is hours at least forgotten and not yet resumed. Time of our own reflection. Time to think, as believers, not first, what would Jesus do?…but what has He done? To think of the great salvation. Peace of the morning to think of Christ our peace. Peace quiet. Enjoyment of blessings and the freeness, the fullness of it all. Oh…what a beautiful peaceful morning! Oh…what a beautiful peaceful day…!
But this too in the morning: the song of the birds. Birds sing, to call, to warn, to mate. To say hello. Or just to sing. Just because they are birds. Always, as song always does, to lift us up from the earth—singing, to remind us of the life of the soul, of the new poem, the new creation that we ourselves are by the indwelling Spirit. That we are to sing. And that we are to fly….
And morning glories. They are closed at night. In the morning, because of the morning, they show themselves flowers. Around our poles, along our fences. Coloring our world grace. Out they come. After the night. To begin the day. And we know their gospel. God is in heaven. And on earth. And all is well. Even glorious.
Now dear reader, we just have to be morning persons!
If Christ be the Morning…
If He be the risen Sun…
If He be our Morning and our Sun…
If He from heaven has sent His Spirit ray
If to rouse me from the bed of my iniquity…
If He has shouted in the gospel preaching,
If this we heard: Awake thou that sleepest and Christ shall give thee light…
If then and now we are children of that Morning and that Sun…
We know this Morning gift; we recognize this wise, never-missed-a-day Teacher.
We think of dew and grace; first light and first love; calm and peace with God; birdsong, and heaven’s gospel song…
We can see the wisdom.
If for this,
Only to hear…
Might make even us
And yes wealthier…
And certainly wiser.
By God! Morning will be our Teacher, and we its eager students!
And none of this correspondence course stuff! Oh no! We want to be at Morning’s feet. We want to hear her lively teaching. Be sitting in her class. Be up with her. Squinting at her glistening dew, delighting in her calm, hearing what next will be her song, her warble, her chirp, her coo.
This will mean, for many of us, that we will sanctify real mornings, real morning time. That is, we will be receiving and consecrating morning time, when we first get up, as special holy time when we will be seeking to exercise ourselves unto godliness.
In light of the Word of God, and with prayerful thanks, we will receive Morning as a good gift of God and a hand-maiden to our devotion (I Tim. 4:3-5). Then and there, first thing upon waking up (or maybe after a bracing shower), we direct our prayer to God and look up (Ps. 5:3). We are not looking ahead, planning this and that and the other thing about work, or play, or school, or lunch. We are not moms in the kitchen rushing about getting lunches ready. We are not young people lounging, waiting till the last minute, and having banged on the snooze button one more time till we get up and go go go wherever fast. But in the morning we are, first thing, looking up. We are engaging (grace engaging us!) in our best good work. We are doing the best thing first thing. In that first time, Morning having mocked the night, we rise and mock with her, and shine in her. There in the quiet, among the dewdrops, listening to birdsong and Moses’ song, and to the Lamb song we are helped and do help ourselves to think of God and our relationship with Him, of the gospel, and of blessings and joys that earth cannot afford. There is His most elegant Morning book open, fresh, just off the press, a new edition—again! There is His greater Bible Book, in our hands, in our minds. There is Spirit light within and opening sleepy eyes. Such light, all around and within! And in that light we see, and we hear, we speak to our heavenly Father.
To be sure, we must not press this morning time devotion slavishly. It is not a prescription. Israel’s feast days are not ceased in order that now we must (as in 99th commandment “must”) have our mornings. Getting up in the morning doth not necessarily holy a man make. It might just make you sleepy if you were up all night with a sick child. And if you are a nurse on third shift you do not get up in the morning; you are up. Your morning is afternoon or evening. Jesus Himself, after one of His nights all night in prayer, might not have gotten up to pray in the morning. And no Elder would have been at His door….
But don’t you think Morning is one opportunity we will not want to be missing, if at all possible? Don’t you think, in light of the Morning Light and Morning’s wonderful lessons, that you will even rethink (what was never even thought of in the first place in better earlier less anxious and less greedy days) third shift? Or that Christian employers would give dawn back to the workers—at least fifteen minutes of it, risking losing the competitive edge by slowing down production, for time with God? Don’t you think that looking forward to morning, and to getting up with and directing prayers to God, might be good for our resolving to do less frivolous night things? Or that parents would stress, even more than evening devotions…morning time visits of their children…to God? And don’t you think a writer for Christian youth would want his readers in the morning of their lives to learn the life with God and for God by availing themselves of all opportunities—like mornings?!
Blessings, Grace Life reader, are the things to think about. Morning is for blessing! Morning with God is for great blessing!
Weekly Sabbath is given, the stellar day, the first day of the week, given for us to begin our week in the enjoyment of and for our laboring to enter into the rest of God all week.
Morning? Why that is the Sabbath of the day, each day! And when Sunday comes around, it is the Sabbath of the Sabbath! For rest. All day. To slow us down in the rush of the day. Or at least to sanctify our rushing. For worship-full. For peace-full day.
Morning? When wisdom for the day is asked for, and received.
Morning? When believers show who is first, and what is most important. When thankful saved sinners offer, first thing in the morning, the first-fruits of their time, their thoughts, their lips, their life.
Morning? If we would seize the day, redeem the time, knowing and desiring the coming of the Lord, it would start then. If we would seize the year, this new year, for fruitful service to God, it would be then—day by day, morning by morning.
Morning? If you, youthful reader, in the morning of your life, would know forgiveness for your sins early, then morning time with God is when you will know truly. For then, seeking to express that you and your day are His, you will confess your grief about your besetting and dark uglinesses of the day and night before. And then you will know what the good Word says when it says mercies, the mercies of the Lord are indeed new every morning.
Morning? For courage. When even the crows have courage to chase the owls home. When even bruised reeds receive blessing not to break under the stresses of another day, and to chase, yes to chase, their prowling hooting haunting sins away!
Morning? If you have ever cried, or shall, on any night, then as God’s dear morning child you will have hope and know the joy that comes in the morning.
Morning? Here’s to Protestant and Reformed and Godly Morning matins! Our utmost for the Highest. For a glorious year! Grace Life all year! Morning by morning. God and you meeting together.
When the morning glories come out.
And God is there.