Tonight I’ll go to sleep one age. Tomorrow I’ll wake up another. If you want to celebrate with me, I’ll be running the Runners On Parade 5K in downtown Fort Wayne. (It starts at Headwaters Park. They haven’t released the rest of the route yet. (That feels like a metaphor, somehow.))
Tonight, as I fall asleep, I’ll be praying words I saw for the first time one day last summer.
Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying,
soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
I think it came in the middle of the accumulating loss I was seeing in our hospital, among my friends, in our world. It gave words to the ache in my heart. I know the mention came from some social media thread from Tish Harrison Warren. It’s part of a Compline service, an evening prayer service that has been part of the Church for millennia, though not part of my church.
In her book on this prayer, Prayer in the Night, Tish reflects on each of the phrases in this prayer. It’s a very helpful book for me as I think and pray and live through being present with other people in really hard moments. I’ve not gotten around to writing a review. Take this as a recommendation.
Each night as I pray, however, I’m not thinking through the theory or the full evening service. I am offering to God each name that comes to mind as I think of each of those phrases. And perhaps, I’ll think of you tonight, as you work or watch or weep or sleep.