Watching for the Morning

April 1, 2020

A Reflection on Psalm 130

The projection clock displays the time in red numbers on our bedroom ceiling. The clock was a gift to us one Christmas. We chuckled when we opened it that Christmas morning. Who needs to know the time in the middle of the night? From the bed? Apparently I do.

Sometimes I have nights when wakefulness overtakes sleepfulness. Long stretches of darkness and quarter turns in the bed quickly become the order of the night and waiting for the light becomes increasingly long. I watch for the morning, doing the math in my sleep deprived mind. Only an hour and forty five minutes till sunrise. I think I can wait that long.

What do I do in the stretches of darkness? How do I make the darkness fruitful as I watch for the light? Sister Kathleen said to pray the hours in those times of wakefulness. Yours is the morning, O God and yours is the evening. Keep me in the shadow of your wings. Keep me as the apple of your eye. Being awake to God becomes the present reality in the darkness that surrounds me.

I pray the alphabet – A is for Ann, B is for Bobby and on and on. I usually go back to sleep around the L’s. Because I am an equilateral prayer, sometimes I start praying from the Z’s and pray the alphabet in reverse. The Zeh’s are deceased now, so I start with the Youngs. I pray the Lord’s Prayer and recite bits of Scripture in my head. I do the examen.

The psalmist invites the examination. “Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If you, O Lord should mark iniquities, Lord who could stand?” In the darkness iniquity seems more exposed. The shadow side is absorbed into the darkness of night. Maybe that’s why Mother always said nothing good ever happens after midnight.

But there is forgiveness with God. And in God’s word we hope and we wait and we watch for the morning light. Darkness has its place. We cannot fully escape it. Light will come in the time after the watch. That is the good news of Christ in the world. Christ is the Light born into the darkness. Christ is the Light and Life risen from the grave.

As we approach Holy Week 2020, great darkness of infection, disease, and death cover the earth. We seem so small in the darkness, but God is still God and God is awake all night long. God will redeem the world through the many who are working through this darkness. Long nights; little sleep. God bless those who work or watch or weep this night. Give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones and rest your weary ones. Bless the dying and soothe the suffering. Lead us, Lord, to the light of your love and grace. Amen.

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