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take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King. take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee. take my silver and my gold; not a mite would i withhold. take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. take my love, my Lord, i pour at Thy feet its treasure store. take myself, and i will be ever, only, all for Thee.

i am trying to spend each sabbath of this year intentionally engaging in cleansing actions. restorative and restful practices. ending one week well. and starting a new week with renewed vigor and purpose. we burn incense. we diffuse oils. we cleanse. we organize. we stroll. we play. we read. we listen. we bake. we savor. we allow the precious balm of this sacred and necessary day of the week to soothe our souls. we allow the glorious heavenly waters to cleanse our hearts and minds.

we spent the final days of 2015 reorganizing and sorting and putting away. clearing out clutter. tidying messes. rearranging. painting. boxing up. throwing away. et cetera. taking some much-needed time to get things back in order to begin a new year fresh. out with the old, in with the new. and after all that cleaning up and cleaning out was complete, we conducted a ceremonial smudging.

on the first sabbath of 2016, we consecrated our home anew. we burned sticks of frankincense and myrrh and let them fill our home with perfumed plumes. and then we lit our bundles of sage and smudged our space. we set intentions for the year. we declared our desire to serve the Lord and further His kingdom work. we spoke the priestly blessing throughout our abode: the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (numbers 6:24-26)

it was a beautiful time. a mystical time. a sacred time. i love rituals of the faith. i don't believe that there is any particular magic intrinsic to them. but i do believe that they are necessary and beautiful actions. outward expressions of inward intentions. and there is power in those symbols. engaging in such rituals helps us to focus. to calm. to recalibrate. coming together as a family to acknowledge our humanity and proclaim His holiness and dedicate our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies to the Lord.

we prayed that He would crown the year with His bounty (psalm 65:11). we sang hymns of old. we entered His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (psalm 100:4). we discussed grace and newness of life. we meditated on the holy scripture. we prayed.

Lord, please cure my warring madness. bend my pride to your control and shame my wanton selfish gladness. free my heart from the fears that long have bound me. give me to view a discovered sinfulness, to know that though my sins are crucified they are never wholly mortified. let me not be rich in things and poor in soul. set my feet on lofty places and remind me that my citizenship is in heaven. help me to be effectual while on this earth yet always being mindful that i am but a sojourner on this earth - making my way home. let me not miss Your kingdom's goal.

coram deo.