God made seasons and cycles and He put them on repeat. The sun hastens to its place every morning and so do our students each school day. We follow an opening regimen at 9:00 a.m., a short list of habits we love that also orients our loves for the rest of our day together. We refer to this routine as matins.
Because God has called us to love our neighbors we say the Pledge of Allegiance. Students in school began reciting an early version of the Pledge as early as 1892. We face the flag, cover our hearts with our right hands, and remember our national neighbors. As a school we certainly don’t agree with many of our elected officials or judges or laws, but this is the place that God planted us, and He calls us to serve our fellow citizens and honor the authority He set over us.
Even greater than loving our neighbors, we are called by God to love Him. We do this in truth–confessionally, and in spirit–melodically.
We say the Apostle’s Creed together (click here to download the version we use), a statement that has represented the core beliefs of Christianity about the Trinity and the Gospel for more than fourteen centuries. The Creed is a theological pledge of allegiance and reminds us of our Maker, our Savior, the gift of the Spirit, and the blessings He brings both now and forever in body.
Then we sing. Our Cantus includes many psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Each student, teacher, and guest gets his or her own copy in order to follow both the lyrics and music. Our singing reminds us of many Bible doctrines and promises while also providing an opportunity for many voices to glorify God in beauty and harmony. We usually sing the same song for an entire week, increasing our exposure to new songs while also still allowing us to sing many songs over the course of the school calendar.
After the Pledge, the Creed, and the singing, one of our teachers prays and asks God’s blessing of wisdom, strength, and fruitfulness for the upcoming day.
As with any repeated activity, it is possible and dangerous merely to go through the motions. Mouthing unmeant words, no matter how truthful or melodic, is a form of lying. But God has not gotten tired of making new days yet, and our responsibility is to discipline our hearts in thanks to, hope in, and love for Him every morning. Matins provides such a structure and makes it hard to keep a grumpy heart going forward.