Gifts Even While They Sleep
I lay down in peace
and take my rest
for it is in God alone that I dwell unafraid.
(from Night Prayer in A New Zealand Prayer Book, a paraphrase of Psalm 4: 8).
I am currently on vacation, and amidst the many joys (friends, shared meals, art galleries, road trips) one of the greatest pleasures is restful sleep. Long and restful sleep. I notice how it affects everything: I am more cheerful and energetic. I am rested.
It is easy to squeeze sleep out of our lives. Parents staying up late because it is the only time they get to themselves in the day. Introverts who need some alone time after a day of extroverting. Those of us who think we can just get more done if we are awake for more hours.
It is but lost labour we haste to rise up early,
and so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety.
For those beloved of God are given gifts even while they sleep.
(also from Night Prayer in ANZPB, a paraphrase of Psalm 127:2).
These words from Night Prayer are provoking me. I wonder what it would be like to order my life to make plentiful sleep a possibility. What would need to be given up, or taken on, to persist in sleeping enough? But perhaps more importantly, what would it be like to trust in God’s gracious provision of sleep? What would it be like to receive God’s gift of sleep?
who invites us saying,
“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest”
By your Spirit give us the capacity to trust
in your provision of rest and sleep,
that we might serve you faithfully
with renewed energy and a cheerful heart.
In your name we pray, Amen.
Jemma Allen is the Associate Priest at All Saints Anglican Church in Howick (Auckland, New Zealand) where she is responsible for ministry with children, young people and their families. She formerly served as the Co-Pastor of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Beijing, China. Her sanity strategies include knitting socks, loving dogs, Skyping friends and eating veggies. Jemma blogs at exilicchaplain.wordpress.com. She is a member of the RevGalBlogPals board and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).