Pancakes and Unicorns

Until this morning, I had never been to a Unicorn Pool Party. But it was a hit with our granddaughter and her friends as they celebrated her fifth birthday here in California. Grandparent duties completed, we are on our way back to Arizona, and look forward to worshiping with you tomorrow morning.

It’s been a busy few days. Maddie’s actual birthday was Thursday. The original plan was a family day down at the beach. Instead, at her request, we enjoyed pancakes with her other grandparents at our usual breakfast place, a short walk to downtown Glendora. Her daddy was able to take the day off, which was a special treat for both of them.

There is something beautiful about simple family traditions. On the one hand, there’s nothing special about our breakfast spot: we’ve been going to the same place on every visit for the past five years. At first, the stroller carried only her; now it carries her brother and baby sister.

In spite of its “ordinariness” (or because of it?), this birthday breakfast takes on an almost sacred significance, made so by its repetition, and by the grandparent memories and experiences which have woven themselves into the fabric of our shared family life together.

Yes, the daily habits of our lives shape us far more than super-duper once-in-a-lifetime events. We crave the big experiences, and are grateful when they come, but our essential family character is formed in the day-to-day routines of our lives.

What is true for family life is also true for our spiritual lives. Super-duper spiritual experiences have their place, to be sure. But it is the daily habits of our spiritual lives which give fundamental shape to our life with God.

Take this morning, for instance. How did your day begin? Did you start the day with worship – with a time of reading the Scriptures and prayer? Is this even a part of your daily routine? If not, why not make it so, beginning today? It will do far more for your spiritual health than a single spiritual high. Stop seeking spiritual experiences; start seeking God every day. It may not feed your ego, but it will feed your soul.

Same goes for weekly corporate worship. As much as I try to make sure every Sunday is an inspirational morning of teaching, music, fellowship, and the Lord’s Table, it is a mistake to think that a spiritual “high” on a Sunday morning is the barometer of a worthwhile worship experience.

No, it is the weekly discipline of worship -- not the periodic “high” we gain from it -- which is most critical for our spiritual formation. Week after week, we who are “called to faith,” “gather in love;” we are then “sent with hope” back into the world.

This is the rhythm which recalibrates our lives, refocuses our priorities, and, little by little, week by week, reshapes us into the kind of people whose lives reflect the character of Jesus Christ.

Yes, a trip to the beach is nice. After all, the Unicorn Pool Party was a lot of fun. But the regular family trip to the breakfast table is even better – especially when the pancakes come equipped with birthday candles.

This Week’s Menu:

1. “New Creation at Work” is the topic of tomorrow’s message as we make our way through Ephesians. Candles are optional.

2. Good SAM, our monthly opportunity to serve a meal to Jesus is tomorrow evening at 4:45.

3. Steve’s Scripture Survey is on Tuesday night at 6:30. “Wandering through Numbers” is the topic as we continue our trek through the Old Testament.

4. The Annual Independence Eve Picnic and Movie Night at our home is on Wednesday night at 6:30. Chicken ‘n’ Ribs provided. Bring something to share. “Running for Grace” is the movie we will show in the backyard (edited by our son). RSVP appreciated; not mandatory.