present, O merciful God, and protect us during the silent hours of this night,
so that we who are weary of the work and changes of this fleeting planet may
cast ourselves upon your everlasting constancy. In the name of Jesus Christ we
pray, AMEN.
Several persons
have commented on my last month’s Grapevine
that, while they understand change is an inevitable part of life, they don’t
have to like it or feel comfortable with all of it. There didn’t
seem to be a sufficient “pastoral care” quotient in that article for them.
Perhaps as often as
I talk and write about change, people have the assumption that I am comfortable
with all of it and enjoy it, and actually look forward to it. Such is not
always the case. One of the aspects of living as long as I have is that life
tends to slowly erode away one’s false myths. Gently and persistently
in my life the false myth that has eroded is that change will someday stop and
sameness will prevail. I have come to the conclusion that part of the dynamic
nature of God’s creation is that change will always
be with us.
So how do I cope?
How do I respond to this awakening that something that does not always make me
comfortable seems to be an ever-present and continuing aspect of life? That’s
where the prayer at the beginning of this article enters.
When I find a
prayer that speaks deeply to me, I pray it often, letting it sink thoroughly
into my soul. This is one of those prayers.
My practice has
been to pray this prayer as my last waking thought while lying in bed at night.
It is a comfort to know that God is ever-present. It is an assurance that,
regardless of how faithful or faithless I have been in this day, God is
ever-merciful. And it is restful to know that I do not have to be the watchman
in the tower all night long; that God will be wakeful and watchful so that I
can rest during these hours that, for me, will be quiet and still.
For often the work
of the day has been wearying. I have sought to give my best, but giving my best
can be taxing and fatiguing. It is good to know that in God’s
divine wisdom, part of the rhythm of life is to take time to rest as well as to
The planet on which
we live keeps spinning around its axis (thank goodness!) and revolving around
the sun. It is in constant motion and does not occupy the same spatial area
twice. It is always in a new region of the galaxy as it moves. And the world I
knew on this planet as a youth in the middle to late portion of the last
century is not the world that exists now. That can be fatiguing as well.
Because of all the
work and changes, it is most assuring that we are invited to cast ourselves
upon the comforting, quieting, and consoling lap of God, resting there in all
of God’s constancy. We do this in the name of
the One who showed us what God is like, how much God cares for us, and how much
God longs for us to come home to the place where we were created to reside.
May these thoughts
and this prayer be a comfort and consolation to you amid the sea of change that
is life as we know it!