Patricia Hofer

Christ’s morning nearness

Still, still with Thee, as to each newborn morning,
 A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So does this blessèd consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and Heaven. (Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896)

The two Gospel descriptions of time with the Lord that I enjoy most are the early morning ones. The first is described in Mark: “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (NASB 1:35). I’ve always visualized him doing that, quietly slipping past the others to commune with his Father, to watch the first pink of sunrise.

The other morning time that I love to imagine is the one on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21). It was early, at daybreak. Perhaps the water was quite calm, sloshing softly against the shore. The sun was rising and the resurrected Jesus was standing there, looking out across the lake.

Without the Lord walking with them, the disciples had decided to go back to fishing. They had to do something, they thought. And they were likely very despondent about it. Certainly, they had fished all night and hadn’t yet caught anything. And then Jesus yells to them from shore, telling them to cast their net again “on the right side of the boat.” And then, of course, it filled with fish. And they came ashore to share another breakfast with their living Lord.

I think Jesus is telling us to do that each morning as well—to cast our thinking “on the right side.” Turning away from the limiting and worrying thoughts of nighttime, we open ourselves to the freshness of the Lord’s new morning. His “nearness” pushes back the demands of the day. One by one by one we allow our hurts and worries and responsibilities to slide off of our shoulders. We can almost smell the fish sizzling on the coals. Thank you, Lord, for our breakfast feast.

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