Still Practicing After All These Years…(and an announcement!)

 Who said, “Practice makes perfect,” anyway? I’ve been a practicing Christian for over four decades. Many days I feel I’ll never get it right. In spite of a lifetime of following Christ, I still haven’t sprouted angel wings or sprung a halo. (Just ask my family.)

 Sometimes I can’t even remember Bible verses I’ve practiced since childhood.

As the Preacher and I sped down the highway on our way to Regina for yet more medical tests, we remembered that we hadn’t taken time for our daily six-pack—our shared reading of five Psalms, and one chapter of Proverbs. We’ve done that for several years. Usually, somewhere among those treasures, God points out at least one verse especially appropriate for that day.

“Hey, let’s recite Psalm 23,” I said, remembering the date.

“Go for it,” said the Preacher.

Prairie surrounded us, white and flat as paper. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters….” I intoned, wishing for a little green right then. “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” I finished with a flourish, a few seconds later.

“Now say it right,” said the Preacher.

“What’d I miss?”

“The ‘He restores my soul’ part. The ‘paths of righteousness for his name’s sake’ part. The ‘valley of the shadow’ part. The ‘oil on my head’ part. ”

“I said the ‘restores my soul’ part. And the ‘valley of the shadow’ part!”

“Nope, ya didn’t.”

“Did too.”

“Nope.”

I almost asked him whose brain we were headed into Regina to get examined anyway. But I didn’t, because I likely did miss those parts of my favorite psalm. Even with the lingering effects of West Nile encephalitis, on a good day his brain always works better than mine.

Thankfully, God doesn’t judge his kids based on how many Bible verses they can recite. Not even on how often they go to church. He looks for the Son in their eyes, not wings on their back, or a halo sprouting from the hairline.

But the intentional practice of faith in Christ, like sunshine, does alter a body. It beams its way into every cranny of our lives—the commonplace, everyday things we don’t even associate with “religion”.

Thanks to the internet, Sunny Side Up goes around the world now, but nine years ago, when I began writing this faith and life column in the local paper, Yorkton This Week, (it’s still published there–my editor has been gracious!) that was the kind of faith I hoped to demonstrate to my readers. Faith without wings or halos. A faith that looks at life through Son-glasses, not rose-colored spectacles.

For years, loyal readers have pled with me to put past columns between in a book. I’m tickled to report that the first year of Sunny Side Up columns are now between covers, and will soon be available in major Christian bookstores and other places across Canada and North America and online.

We’ve called it Practice by Practice, The art of everyday faith–the first in a series of planned column compilations, titled “The Preacher and Me“.

From an author not even in the running for a halo.

Signed copies are available at (www.kathleengibson.ca/practicebypractice) or click on the right sidebar link.