As the Dew of the Morning


READ:  Ecclesiasticus 18:15-21

“My child, do not temper your favors with blame nor any of your gifts with words that hurt.  Does not dew relieve the heat?  In the same way a kind word is worth more than a gift.  Yes, a kind word is better than a good gift, but a generous person is ready with both.  A fool will offer nothing but insult, and a grudging gift stings the eyes.  Learn before speak, take care of yourself before you fall ill.  Examine your before judgment day comes, and on the that day you will be acquitted.  Humble yourself before you fall, repent as soon as the sin is committed.” – Ecclesiasticus 18:15-21








When one begins each day before sunrise, a person experiences a certain something that those who sleep in do not.  That something is the dew upon the grass.  I rediscovered this early morning phenomenon when I entered into the rhythm of the monastic hours.  Each morning as we make our way in the last vestiges of the night, as the darkness lets go of the earth, the dew amazingly appears to freshen the earth for its coming day.  The grass becomes bedecked with watery jewels that become even more evident with the first light of day.  And when those first rays of sunshine, stretch in from the horizon, the grounds of Greyfriars’ Abbey become draped with momentary diamonds, causing the fields to sparkle with a certain newborn, natural praise, an explosion of Creation joy.  This predawn air is moist, you might say, rich and dewy, filled with the subtle fragrance of new life.

The Wisdom writer of Ecclesiasticus refers to the gift of the dew.  And among the Hebrew writers, you often can find their affectionate fascination for this seemingly miraculous appearance of life-giving moisture upon the earth.  For ancient shepherds in the fields, it must have been mystifying.  One early monastic writer romantically described the dew of the morning as “God’s way of washing the earth of the dust of yesterday’s travails.”.  The other morning in our time of predawn prayer, the Abbot brought to our remembrance both this passage from Ecclesiasticus and the words of that ancient Brother.   The Abbot’s homily reminded us that “we are to be like the dew upon the grass, each day refreshing the world about us.

I find we live in a time of heated words, criticizing words, complaining words, tainted words, taunting words, angry words, aggravating words, slanderous words, sarcastic words, mean-spirited and so often far-too-many of them.  These words, these heated words, I find accomplish little good in the end.  They tend to leave the world and the souls who dwell there upon that world, a little more blistered, a little more parched, a little more burned, and over time, wilted and weakened, dry and dying.

We, as people who have been renewed through the grace of God, must become more intentional about the ministry of the gifts that come packaged in words.  Our words can be personal expressions of God’s grace, maybe, even more than, conveyers of God’s grace.   Maybe, the Lord is hoping that we will become like the morning dew upon the grass.  If we would – with intention and with a sense of divine mission – choose to fill each morning with gracious, sparkling, refreshing, life-renewing words, possibly we might help to wash away the dust left by yesterday’s travails.  Maybe, if we began to transform our words into cups of cool water, we might renew those few souls who dwell nearby and those few souls pass our way.  Maybe … we and our words could become as the morning dew.

My Loved Ones, think before you join in the caustic and often condemning conversation of our times, and then instead choose to become droplets of refreshing grace by means of your kind and loving words filled with grace.


Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)

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