Again and Again

Again and Again


She’d just turned three and I found her sitting in the middle of a bedroom floor, carefully building a tower of wooden blocks. She didn’t notice my gaze, me just taking her in, wondering at her. Her attention was fixed on stacking another piece and I held my breath as her tower began to lean, burdened by the weight of it all.

As the blocks came down she let out a squeal, sheer delight. Gladdened by the chance to begin again, she took one large block, the base of a new tower, and began to build. And she sang a song.

I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall be continually in my mouth. In the Lord my soul shall make her boast. Let the meek hear and be glad…

Her game of building, again and again, each tower of blocks resting on a firm foundation, a blessing, I wondered how a child so young and new could hymn the psalms, sing a new song. All joy, no effort.

It’s the inheritance of Orthodoxy, the services richly layered in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, and our constant companion, the Psalter, the prayer book of the Church. And this particular psalm, our hymn of eucharistic joy, this was her song – her experience, after partaking of Him. She hadn’t labored to commit those lines to memory. He’d inscribed them in the record of her heart, words become flesh, indelible blessing – the Word giving words, expressing joy.

My older children, I’ll sometimes catch them singing in whispers as they work, Bless the Lord, O my soul and Let my prayer arise as incense. And those words, so effortlessly engraved in the tablets of their hearts, they’re the gift of worshipping in Spirit and in Truth. Old songs made forever new and always with us, the content of the heart.

These God-breathed words, they’re building blocks and I’ve resolved to build a tower of them resting on that foundation so naturally laid by the Church. It’s a resolution to nurture my children with nourishing food – Daily Bread. Not to simply teach my children the Scriptures, but to carefully fold syllables into the deep heart, to give them something to take with them, always.

Years ago I came across a simple memory system and we made a habit of it. It works so well, just five minutes a day. And now I create memory cards, just short little verses, slices of Daily Bread. They’re carefully filed behind index dividers and each day we uncover a heavenly morsel and consume its richness. Building upon each word, one verse upon the next, it’s food for the journey to the Tree of Life.

Those verses that nourish us daily, I keep them in a small, wooden recipe box, the one my mother used when I was a young girl. That box once held the recipes that nourished me as a child and now it sits on my kitchen counter, filled with soul nourishment, the good Food I feed my family.

The daily repetition of the verses, it kneads our hearts so that someday we may rise. Recollect. Repeat. Remember. Again and again, let us pray to the Lord.

(If you follow this link to our favorite Scripture Memory System, you’ll find instructions and printable resources to help in building your family’s box of verses.)

About author

Katherine Johnson

My name is Katherine and I never go by Kathy, but you can call me Mary. That's my church name. Either way, you see, I'm one of those converts to Orthodoxy who finds herself called by two names. I like to think of it as binomial nomenclature, Byzantine style.

A little confusion is a small price to pay for such an amazing Faith.

And me? Well, after graduating from university, I turned down an opportunity to study law. Decided that a family suited me just fine. My husband, Doug, and I are blessed with seven children, infant to teen.

I specialize in finding God in the most unexpected places, like the kitchen sink or the laundry room. Or sometimes when I'm curled up on the couch surrounded by children and a good book. (Did I mention we homeschool?)

So after full days of keeping home and caring for my family, I stay up way too late and write about the blessings of my life. Those reflections on finding grace in the profoundly ordinary? I've made it a habit to share them on my blog, seamless.

I look forward to meeting you here again and again.