by Rob Plummer
Most mornings, I get up and prepare three large mugs of hot tea (two for me, one for my wife). I set out my favorite mugs.
I boil the water in a kettle. I scoop the aromatic loose-leaf tea into a strainer and then pour the boiling water over the leaves. After 5-minutes of steeping, I add sugar and milk (British style). I start a crackling fire. (Well, I press “play” for a crackling fire video on YouTube.)
I settle down on the living room couch while it’s still dark and quiet to sip my tea and read my Greek New Testament.
The New Testament only gives us two sacred rituals or ordinances—baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Yet, by consciously embracing other non-sacred rituals, we attach the totality of ourselves to a habit, directing our lives towards things we choose to value.
In a blog post entitled “How to Turn an Ordinary Routine Into a Spirit-Renewing Ritual,” Brett and Kate McKay list the essential elements of a ritual as: (1) location and atmosphere, (2) objects, (3) timing, and (4) mindset. A ritual is a habit performed in self-reflection and style—a method of consciously imprinting a behavior onto all of one’s senses and thus making the habit “stick” more easily while increasing one’s joy in practicing it.
What would it look like for you to turn your reading of the Greek New Testament into a ritual? It might mean you buy that expensive calf leather Greek New Testament that feels so supple and smells like a new belt. And, you might read it in the same favorite place every day with a candle lit beside you, reminding you of the lamplight by which the authors of the New Testament wrote.
You might enjoy a cup of coffee as part of this daily ritual. The feel of leather. The smell of coffee. A familiar seat. The flickering light of a candle. A warm and familiar mug in your hand. A consciousness of being part of the Body of Christ to whom this inspired text was written long ago. An expectation of hearing the Spirit speak through the Word.
By involving your various senses, you create an expectancy of your total person for the daily ritual.
Editor’s note: This blog post is taken from a forthcoming book co-authored by Rob Plummer and Ben Merkle: Greek For Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Using New Testament Greek in Ministry (Baker, August 2017). Used by permission.