The night descends from God’s own hand
All failures from this day are gone
Let peace like evening curtains fall
Restore your soul in heaven’s hall.
Text: Renée Miller
Music: "Jesu dulcis memoria, plainsong, Mode 2"
As you prepare for the close of this day, let all the worries and anxieties you have carried today slip away. Bring your attention to this moment and the presence of the Holy One around you as you listen to the ringing of the bell.
“Darkness is a time to enter into silence deeper than the mere absence of words and sit quietly and still in that silence until a word forms in the soul.”
—Renee Miller, Fertile Soil in a Barren Land
“Be still and know
that I am God.”
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”—Psalm 36:5-9
A Reading from
“No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen.” —Luke 8:16-18a
followed by Silence
Everything that we know, cherish, and delight in was born out of the primal darkness. From the trees, to our children, to the choice of our particular career, to the memories that are scratched on the surface of our souls, to the experience of God in the silent part of our being —all of it was conceived and grew in the darkness before ever it was birthed in the light.
It’s as if darkness is the endless ocean through which light must sail. Without the darkness, there would be no possibility of sailing; in fact, there’d be no movement whatsoever. Whenever we can detect the periphery—the edges—of light, we see that just beyond those edges is the great deep darkness that stretches into eternity.
There is no escape
from that darkness. Nor should there be.” Ask yourself, “When has the darkness
in my life led me to the light?”
Take some moments now to offer the concerns of your heart to heaven. Remember those who are in pain, those who are afraid, those who are alone, those whom you love, those who are dying, and those who are already in heaven, and pray for the needs of your own life.
Restoration from Fatigue
Gracious God, at times my life seems to be too much. Too full. Too demanding. Too consuming. Everything feels necessary, even important, but weariness creeps across my body and soul like storm clouds gathering in an open sky. As my body is depleted of energy, my mind loses interest in what normally enthuses me. My tired soul sags as if it were a balloon losing its air. Sometimes I feel so spent that even restorative sleep seems to elude me. Help me sort the truly important from what only seems important. Give me courage to say no to what drains rather than feeds me. Help me find brief moments to sit in perfect stillness while you massage my soul. And, when I go to my nightly sleeping place, wrap your darkness around me like the softest cloak, so that I may sleep peacefully in your embrace. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.
—from Prayers for Living
The night has come and another day of life has passed. Heaven has watched over you this day and will hold you this night. May you feel the brush of God’s blessing as the shadows deepen and your eyes close in the little death of sleep.
Closing Thought with Chant
As you sleep this night, know that you are loved by God— boundlessly, unconditionally, and eternally.
“Guilt has no power, shame cannot hide
All the beauty that lives inside.
Open your eyes, to realize
The wonder of your soul.”
Text: Renée Miller
Music: Thomas Pavlechko
Wellspring, Selah Publishing