Naps of the Bible
“So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.” – Genesis 2:3
Jacob ran, scared to death of his brother Esau who was … huge. Exhausted in the wilderness, he put his head on a rock and dreamed a legislature of angels. Jacob woke knowing God was in every scary place or runaway journey, but only because sleep gave the dreaming a chance. Joseph of Nazareth planned to send away his beloved Mary, because that’s how being hurt and angry works. Then he decided to sleep on it, and the rest was … well, Christmas! Jesus was taking a power nap in the boat between healings and teachings when a storm blew up. They had to shake him awake before he could say “peace, be still.” Only later he complained, “O you of little naps …”
And that’s not mentioning Nebuchadnezzar’s nightmare of conscience, Jonah’s snooze below decks before taking responsibility for his actions, the warning to the magi that there is always another way home, or the raising of Eutychus, the teenager who fell out the window reminding us that long sermons can be a form of melatonin.
Long ago and this week, the chance to actually experience a dream of hope, the pause that shifts an emotion-driven decision, the renewal of strength and faith to face any storm—they all come from sleep. Sleep gives energy, focus, creativity. Sleep weaves the frayed memory, improves the unreliable temper, and always makes working with the ragtag, clueless, practically disciple-esque folks in our resistance possible.
God, who takes us from being left in the dust to ribs of companionship in one deep sleep, we thank you for always being there when we lie down and when we rise up.
Maren C. Tirabassi is Pastor of Union Congregational UCC of Madbury, NH. She is the author most recently of The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales.