It was hard to get moving this morning.  I wanted to pull the covers over my head and let the world go on without me but that darn (not the word I wanted to use) puritan work ethic is scorched in my DNA. So like every other morning, I went to my default.  I followed my routine for a new day –  a tie or not, hot tea, quiet time in “my chair,” a joyous good morning from puppy Molly, the newspaper, a few encouraging words to the plants in the garden, yogurt or not, and a rehearsing of the upcoming tasks. Then off I go to face the duties of the day.

I want to draw your attention to the notion of routine, particularly in these days of social distancing, isolation and quarantine.  Routine is defined as “a regular course of procedure; the habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure.”  It comes from the French word route “way, path” as “usual course of action.”
In these distressing times, can routine, our “usual course of action”, be helpful for us? The short answer is “yes”.  Routine is helpful and healthy.  The American Psychology Association (APA) states that “maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity” such as social distancing, isolation and quarantine. APA advises that we create and follow a daily routine.

Here are some of the potential benefits of creating and following a daily routine.  Routine builds resilience.  It keeps one grounded and present.  It helps one cope with change. It creates healthy habits. It decreases stress and assists one to make time for important things.  Own your daily routine. I’m wondering, can routine become ritual?

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 6:10-17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Reflection Questions:
What is your struggle?
What will help you stand firm?
Can following a routine lead toward making ritual?

Prayer: Holy God, I give thanks for this day, and then I worry – there is so much left undone. But you are with me!  You calm my anxiety, fill me with peace, and help me choose the way of righteousness. Amen.

Wednesday Evening Prayer Service via livestream begins at 6:45 p.m. and lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.

Sunday we will start livingstreaming 15 minutes before the service which begins at 9:45 a.m.  Music will fill this time in preparation for Worship.

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Check out Virtual Children’s Church with Miss Allison by going to Pine Shores Presbyterian Church homepage.  A Joy Company video coming soon!

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What’s Happening With Family Promise?
As you might imagine, the Board of Family Promise of Sarasota has suspended its plans to restart operations until COVID-19 is under control. Of course we don’t know when that will be.
The good news is that Family Promise has secured a new day center and office space and had been planning to begin a search for a new director and to begin training, or re-training, our volunteers. But it’s also true that the virus is making life difficult and dangerous for us all, homeless families most of all. There is no end to their need for services.
The Board is praying for your health and safety during these troubled times and for the rapid control of the virus so that together we can resume serving the homeless families of Sarasota.


To view previous readings click HERE