Daily Devotionals

Early in the Morning, Part I

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Scripture:  “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:5)  “Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. . . .  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’” – John 20:1, 18.


I am an early riser, and the dawn has always been a special time for me.  I recall one Fall we were at Edisto Island.  I had arisen early and went down to the beach to watch the sun come up over the rim of the Atlantic.  And just as dawn broke, I heard the melodious, haunting sounds of a flute welcoming the sun’s arrival.  A young man, oblivious to my presence, was offering up his music in praise of God.  It was an inspiring moment that I have never forgotten. 


In many respects, the Gospel itself is a “Story of Mornings.”  As seen in the scriptures quoted above, Jesus began His ministry with an early morning prayer.  And at the end, the very first sighting of the resurrected Jesus occurred “early, while it was still dark.” 


Dietrich Bonhoeffer summed it up as follows: “The early morning belongs to the church of the risen Christ.  At the break of light it remembers the morning on which death, the devil, and sin were brought low in defeat, and new life and salvation were given to human beings.”*   


Each morning, open the door of opportunity for growth, service, and love.  In the words of Saint Augustine:


                     Remember Christian soul that today and every day,

                     you have . . . .

  • God to glorify.
  • Jesus to imitate.
  • Salvation to work out with fear and trembling.
  • A body to use rightly.
  • Sins to repent.
  • Virtues to acquire.
  • Hell to avoid.
  • Heaven to gain.
  • Eternity to hold in mind.
  • Time to profit by.
  •   Neighbors to serve.
  •   The world to enjoy.
  •   Creation to use rightly.
  •   Kindness to offer willingly.
  •   Justice to strive for.
  •   Temptations to overcome.
  •   Death perhaps to suffer.
  •   And in all things, God’s love to sustain you. **


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we thank you for this new day.  Our sins of yesterday have been confessed and forgiven, washed away in the night; and our tomorrows are yet to be revealed to us.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.


Submitted by:  Tom Haggard

* Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Life Together: The Classic Explanation of Christian Community, 1978.  .

** Cobb, David and Derek Olson, Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book, 2014.