A Piece of My Day

End of the day…

Posted on: Monday, 6 December 2010

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I thank You, that You have graciously kept me this day...

I spent most of today putting together a service bulletin for an Evensong service. At one point, I walked into our dining room, only to be greeted with the beautiful colors of the sun setting in the west. To be so fully wrapped in the language of evening for most of the day was quite spiritually fulfilling, as I love the evening and nighttime liturgies which the early Church developed for itself and used faithfully for many years.

We use them less now in our corporate worship. Electricity has ended our fear of nighttime shadows, and so asking for God’s protection in the darkness seems a bit out-dated. We don’t need no stinkin’ Holy Comforter – we’ve got lamps!

Except…we do still need these prayers. We may not need to ask for protection from the boogeymen who haunted our ancestors in the darkness, but we ask for protection because it is God who gives us protection. And peace. And comfort. And so when we are sitting in a room full of lamps which are fully lit, and yet we are still scared of what we cannot see, we ask God to help us see the way. These prayers of protection and guidance remind us of our relationship to God – God who sees all, and knows all, and holds all lovingly in hand. Because sometimes our greatest fears greet us not in darkness, but in the light.

The caption of this photo is from a prayer which Martin Luther suggested be prayed each night before bed:

I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day. I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Into God’s hands we commend ourselves…not a bad prayer as we close our eyes and try to sleep.

I leave you this evening with a stanza from a favorite hymn:

My loved ones, rest securely,

For God this night will surely

From peril guard your heads.

Sweet slumber may he send you;

And bid his hosts attend you

And through the night watch over your beds.

Peace be upon your night, however dark or light it may be,

K

PS – The hymn is “Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow”  (text by Paul Gerhardt) which may be found in many Lutheran hymnals.

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