Archive for category #sleepinchurch; #sleep; #rest
Read: 2 Corinthians 11.24 (NRSV)
Paul carries the marks of faithfulness for the Gospel, in his story and through his body. Thirty-nine lashes on five occasions are his evidence of standing up for Christ under opposition. That is persecution! We hear the alarm go off on Sunday morning and see the clouds are grey and feel the warmth of the bed and the promise of more sleep calls to us. What would Paul say about our temptation to skip worship?
Gathering for worship is not about the hymns, not about the preacher nor the sermon. It is about the People of God gathering to worship God. Would we be more likely to go if it were a challenge to attend? Would more people try to get in if we sold tickets? Since we can freely come to worship, is it too easy to stay away?
Prayer: Lord, Wake me up! I want to be where your people are worshiping you. If I’m not there, you will miss me and they will too. Amen.
Sabbath Worship: Go to worship and give yourself to God. Go to worship to praise God with boldness.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh– my adversaries and foes– they shall stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, LORD, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! [NRSV]
Sleep is vitally important to our health and renewal of body and soul. Many folks have trouble sleeping or staying asleep for a variety of reasons, which makes it even more important to control the factor that we can influence.
Affirmation of God:
Many times we take the worries, stress, and fears into our sleep which can be seen in our racing minds, worried hearts and wrestles states. We begin our resting recognizing once again that God is at work in our situation.
Psalm 27 is a useful tool for maximizing our rest. Beginning with acknowledging God has our back and has our life, we can lay aside all things knowing God is with us.
- The Lord is my Light
- The Lord is my Salvation
- I have NOTHING to Fear
- The Lord is my Strength
- The Lord is my Life
- I have NOTHING to fear
This prayerful hymn begins with setting the stage with the focus on God. Rather than unloading the garbage of the day in a spiritual data dump, think of beginning sleep as an orienting prayer that places our attention and presence in God.
As a typical alternative, the TV or some screen is our light. Worries about money, debt and demands waiting for us at the break of day reveal our weakness. We hone-in our weariness, regrets and mind-reading of the day’s events and the projects of what tomorrow will bring.
Try the new model. Begin rest placing ourselves before God.
- You are my light tonight
- You are my meaning
- You are my strength
- You got me safe, I have nothing to fear, to worry, to distract, etc.
Naming the Struggle
After taking the time to place ourselves in the presence of God, then we ready to let go of what we have been holding. Some things we care are useful responsibilities, even though meaningful and good, can be stress for and tiring.
Some things are beyond our control. We live in the presence of evil. There are people, forces, organizations, ideologies, and the like that will sap up every bit of energy and attention, our health and our minds, even to the point of death.
There in the Psalm acknowledging of God’s place, our place and then the things and people who are encamped around us. So that even if we are in a good place with God there are things waiting to tempt, harm, challenged and confuse us.
A Reminder of Confidence
The model is to be confident in God in the face of evil. “I will be confident in ..asking God.” God let me live in your strength, light and love, all the days and nights of my life.
In our sleep it one of the most intimate times of being present with God. We might think it is the response to exhaustion or simple time for our bodies to rest and renew, but SLEEP can be a time to renew our trust and faith.
Some times we try doing things to distract or wear ourselves down to fall asleep. Most times we read a book or watch a show or screen we are overloading our minds to reach a point of auto-shutdown.
This Psalm consists of a hymn of faith, as all Psalms are, and it calls us to worship.
- Naming the Joy in the world and in our experiences,
- Singing songs of praise
- Calling for Grace to surround and cover us
- Seek to find God face to face, heart to heart.
- Even if my family and friends can’t or won’t help, you are with me.
- You are with, You have not given up on me.
- Remind God and Ourselves how God might handle or show up in the responsibilities, threats, challenges, and work that awaits us. Anticipating the ways our faith will the renewed when God indeed helps us.
Believing God’s Goodness will restore, heal, help, bless, lead, strengthen and give power in what awaits us.
Wait in the Lord (Hope in Practice)
Finally, trust that preparing for sleep to be more about God than ourselves, helps us to lay aside, even if for a few hours, to remember what we pick back up and what we face tomorrow will be good, because God is good, strong, and true.
Use Psalm : Some times we begin by reading and listening to word, When we take the pattern of Affirmation Who God is, Naming our struggles and anticipation how God will help us, Worshiping God for all God has done, and Rest in Hope.
- a. Make your sleep about God and not yourself
- b. Name your worries and name of God might do with them
- c. Name your struggles and anticipate what God will reveal
- d. Name your fears and picture how God will use you.
- e. Worship, remembering joy, singing songs and praise God
- f. and wait on God to renew and revive us.