Sunday, December 05, 2004

morning watch

Patterned after the church's ancient liturgical practice of praying the canonical hours but now in remembrance and anticipation of Easter dawn, there's a Christian tradition of Morning Watch or "vigils." The fourth and last segment of the night watch, the morning watch of antiquity and of the New Testament epoch (that's us!) is from 3-6 AM; during this final watch of the night, darkness gently eases into the quiet early light of Easter dawn and God's Glory softly splashes over all creation. I've started compiling a series of Morning Watch devotionals; here's the first one.

O God, Thou art my God, and I will seek Thee all day long
O God, Thou are my God, and I will praise Thee with all my heart
I will seek Thee in the morning, at noon and in the dark of night
And walk with Thee in safety
Throughout the rage of time


Jeremiah 29

11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 'I will be found by you,'declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.' NASB

11 "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
12 "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen.
13 "When you come looking for me, you'll find me.
"Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, 14 "I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." GOD's Decree.
"I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—GOD's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. MSG


John 20:1

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. NASB

Realized Hope: Resurrection!

John 20:1

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. MSG

A Mandate:

Jeremiah 29

5 'Build houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 'Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.
7 'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.' NASB


Psalm 73:25, MSG

You're all I want in heaven!
You're all I want on earth!


Psalm 23, MSG

A David psalm

1 GOD, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
2 You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
3 True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of GOD
for the rest of my life.

The Message, © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Times of the traditional watches:

Ancient Night Watch

First watch | until midnight
Middle watch | until 3 a.m.
Morning watch | until 6 a.m.

Ancient Day Watch

Morning | until about 10 a.m.
Heat of day | until about 2 p.m.
Cool of day | until about 6 p.m.

New Testament Night Watch

First watch, evening | 6-9 p.m.
Second watch, midnight | 9-12 p.m.
Third watch, cock-crow | 12-3 a.m.
Fourth watch, morning | 3-6 a.m.

New Testament Day Watch

Third hour | 6-9 a.m.
Sixth hour | 9-12 midday
Ninth hour | 12-3 p.m.
Twelfth hour | 3-6 p.m.

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