Periodic, my chores, my thoughts, my learning, and my life. Time adds the illusion of length to all that we do. We’re not living in eternity yet, and until we do, we have to keep periodically up on everything. If we don’t, bits and pieces of what we are slip into oblivion, or at least take a back seat, or maybe fall asleep in us. ‘If we snooze, we lose.’ I am a polyglot, but I can only speak four or five languages ‘on the spot’ right now. Others I have studied are no longer in my active mind. I must refresh them as needed.
I woke up remembering the psalms, but I haven’t read them yet, the psalms of the twenty-first day of the month, psalms 105 and 106, both of them based on the history of Israel at their exodus from Egypt, and their forty-year wandering in the wilderness. If I were more faithful in reading the daily psalms, I might have them completely memorized. As it is, at least I have many verses lodged in my active and inactive memory, at my verbal finger-tips when I write, and ready to activate in my everyday life.
I had better not pass them up today, as I often do, not just to keep them alive in me, but for me to keep alive in them, period. Yes, God the faithful wages war on death every moment by giving us time in which to keep His commandments, to keep on living. ‘Keep alive in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning,’ nags our beloved evangelist (1 John 2:24 JB), and if we periodically read the gospels and the epistles, this is sure to happen—we will stay alive. I remember that, as I notice my schefflera is drooping.
‘Water me!’ she says, and I promise her I will—if I remember. Meanwhile, there’s these thoughts to finish, those psalms to pray, that shower to take, a pot of coffee to brew, and yes, the lawn to mow, and then, well, more of the same. That’s the smaller picture. Back to the bigger. Still more periodic. My other thought as I awoke was how the Church is no less wonderfully periodic than everything else is, and how it would fall asleep, or even cease being itself, if it didn’t keep remembering, rehearsing, reliving its life.
As a child, I was taught that skipping church was a sin. Back then, it seems, everything was a sin that happened to be what my elders didn’t want me to do. That rather cheapened the idea of sin in me and many others till we now find it hard to know what is sinful. The Church wants us to keep coming to services not because it wants an audience for its performances, but because what it does is for our periodic, personal maintenance. Her liturgy waters and feeds us, because we won’t do it ourselves.
We don’t have to look far past our own noses to see that it’s true. If I don’t periodically water my plant, it withers. I don’t think it will die, because life is very strong. I’d have to want to kill it, for it to really die. We humans are made the same way. The Lord and Giver of life has made the life in us very strong too. Periodic maintenance, ‘keep My commandments that you may live’ (Proverbs 7:2), is necessary. ‘Now, brother body, you’ve reminded yourself,’ says my conscience, ‘time to start your day.’ Yes, periodic.