Leader: O God of all gods,
grant us your light this night,
your grace as we sleep,
your joy in the morning
and let us be made pure in the well of your health.
All: Lift from us any anguish,
take from us empty pride,
and lighten our souls
with the light of your love.
This is a prayer from the evening worship of the Iona Community.
As my day draws to a close, it gives me peace to pray for a sense redeeming light and healing grace from God as I prepare to enter into a time of rest. The response in the prayer is also a call to God to be lightened. How wonderful to pray that God would ‘lift us from any anguish, and take us from empty pride.
You’ll notice as well that the prayer is also a call for joy in rising. Specifically it calls out that we might be granted God’s ‘joy in the morning!’I like this part of the prayer. When I was a child, and even more often when I was a teenage, I can remember being asked many times “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today?” I am can’t be sure if any of you were ever asked that question, but for some reason I was asked it a fair bit. ‘Waking up on the wrong side of the bed’ is an idiom for being grumpy, irritable, unhappy or difficult. Hard to believe that I might have been that way isn’t it? I am sure it is even more difficult to accept that I could be that way nowadays. In Newfoundland we would say that I can be ‘contrary’ in the mornings when I get up on the ‘wrong side of the bed.’ So I really like praying at the end of day that my rest would be free from anguish and worry. I am well pleased to pray at bedtime that my resting would be free from spiritual darkness and illumined by grace. And I am almost compelled (for the sake of all who I will encounter) to ask God to give me Holy joy in the morning. I really would love to be ‘made pure in the well of [God’s] health.’
So I am hoping to avoid the proverbial ‘wrong side of the bed’ in the morning. I am praying that the rest I get tonight will be a gift that I can celebrate as having come from God’s own hand. I am praying that I might have whatever darkness I feel in my life lightened by the Love and grace of Jesus…I and offer that prayer for all of you as well.
When I greet tomorrow I will offer another prayer from Iona. This too is a responsorial prayer. I was struck by the simple honesty in this when I first heard the words prayed in the Iona Abbey:
The world belongs to God
The earth and all its people.
How good and how lovely it is
To live together in unity.
Love and faith come together
Justice and peace join hands
If the Lord’s disciples keep silent
These stones will shout aloud
Tomorrow will be a gift; a gift from God from whom all things flow. ‘The world belongs to God, the earth and all its peoples.’ In response to that gift I ask myself can I embrace the joy of God mentioned in night prayer to be a disciple who lives in unity with creation and with all of God’s people. Will I work to see to it that ‘justice and peace join hands?’ I can enter into those questions very safely because even if I ‘keep silent, the stones will shout aloud.’ I invite you to ask those questions too. I invite you to pray that we might together work to respond to the gift of tomorrow by seeking peace and unity and justice in our own circles, in our neighbourhoods and indeed, in our world.
Jesus Christ, Son of Mary,
Holy Spirit, Light of Life,
shield and sustain us and all our dear ones,
this night and every night. Amen.