All who stand by night in the house of the Lord

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Therefore, if you would not fall, cease never in your intent, but beat evermore on this cloud of unknowing that is betwixt you and your God with a sharp dart of longing love, and be loathe to think on anything less than God. (The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th c.)

I am attending the Annual Lenten Retreat at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin, led this year by Phyllis Tickle.

The topic of the retreat is “the Observant Christian: Pilgrims of the Emergence.”

While the content of Phyllis’ talks will be primarily on Emergence Christianity, the weekend is shaped by the practice of “fixed-hour prayer” using the offices she compiled in a series of volumes titled The Divine Hours. She organizes the prayers appointed for each season and day of the week so that you do not have to flip back and forth in a breviary but can more easily pray the offices.

The brief passage above from the Cloud of Unknowing is contained in the office of the Night Watch for today.

Whether you are awake before dawn on purpose or restless from being in an unfamiliar place, when you pray the Night Watch you join with all “who stand by night in the house of the Lord” (Ps. 134).

It is good to be back in this particular “house of the Lord,” a place that figures heavily in my own spiritual geography. I look forward to the next couple of days spent with Phyllis and my fellow-pilgrims.

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