As We Sleep, The Lord Moves
by Dan Kidd
If ever we are tempted to think the will and way of the Lord are threatened by our ineptitude or frailty, we'd be well served to remember all that the Lord has done while we are sleeping. Have you ever considered the amazing things that God achieved as his people slept? As Adam slept God created human community in the person of Eve; Abram, while in a deep sleep, encountered the Lord who made a covenant with him--promising him and his descendants a land of their own; the Lord prophesied to King Nebuchadnezzar and then Daniel omens of the future and the coming of the Son of Man and the Day of the Lord; it was in a trance that the Lord met Peter and called "clean" the food that would allow him to eat with and evangelize the gentile, Cornelius. These are but a few examples, but the effect is great: God can and does change the world even in our sleep!
Today's passage is another remarkable example of the Lord shaping the history and fate of the world by meeting with Joseph, son of Jacob, in a dream. Not to be confused with the Joseph, son of Jacob, in Genesis (who was also prophesied to in a dream), the Joseph in Matthew's Gospel is visited by an angel of the Lord who tells him that, despite how absurd it may sound, his betrothed, Mary, conceived through the Holy Spirit and would give birth to Immanuel, who would save his people from their sins. How fortunate it is for us all that Joseph didn't dismiss this incredible revelation as a fantasy of indigestion, but instead was faithful to marry Mary and love and protect the baby Jesus.
I can't honestly say that I've had a dream I knew was a revelation from the Lord. At least, I don't remember such an event. But, I can say for certain that our good, generous, faithful God has done much for me, around me, and to me, without any effort or skill of my own. That's not to say that we don't have work to do on behalf of God's Kingdom. We do. But, let us not forget the work of the Lord even as we rest. In fact, it is because God is faithful and capable that we can be at peace as we practice rest, sleep, and even play. So let us do that. Let us truly rest in the Lord, and anticipate the incredible things that he will do.
Let us receive today this prayer of peace and calm from St. Teresa of Ávila: May today there be peace within. May you trust your Highest Power that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance. It is there for each and every one of you.