Peace in the Morning: Images and Meditations to Begin Your Day by Daniel B. Ford Jr. is appropriately named because peaceful is how I feel when I sit with this small hardcover devotional, published by Paraclete Press. Ford combines his photos from around the world, both majestic landscapes and everyday sights, with quotes from his pastor Hal M. Helms’ national bestseller Echoes of Eternity.
The book is divided into four sections: Consider, Pray, Look and Live. I was drawn in starting with the first reflection, which is titled “Interruptions are also of me.” I need this reminder frequently: “Do not forget the parable of the priest and the Levite. Never let your predetermined agenda keep you from seeing My hand in the interruption. It is there, whether you recognize it or not.” The simple accompanying photograph is what appears to be the corner of the first floor and basement of a red brick house with a bike leaning against it. A window box brimming with jonquils rests between black shudders.
This was helpful to me as I went through my day because I tend to see email as an interruption and am always eager to get through it so I can get on to my real work, which is writing. I want to remember that God’s hand might be in the message someone has sent me and can be in the messages I send as well.
Another reflection, in just 10 words, reminds me of an equally necessary ingredient for my day, gratitude: “My child, your thankfulness gladdens my heart and strengthens yours.” The photo looks like a landscape in Tuscany.
I love the gentleness of the messages as they are combined with the photos. This thoughtfully put together book, 156 pages, can be combined with a more detailed devotional like the one I am using for Advent, with its assigned scripture readings and thoughtful commentary, or can be used alone by anyone with little time for morning prayer. It would also be an excellent gift for someone who has never used a devotional in the morning and might be put off by needing to have a Bible at hand to look up scripture passages. The snippets of wisdom and the beauty of the photos will sustain the ardent prayer warrior and those just beginning a daily prayer life. And the book can be read again and again since it is not connected with any liturgical season. You can finish it and then start again. What a blessing to begin the morning with peace.