I rarely have sleep issues. Truly. I think I have just been gifted in the arena of sleeping and achieving good sleep. My wife and I have had many discussions about this and sometimes we drift off (see what I did there) onto the topic of the need for sleep anyway. It is odd isn’t it. For some reason, all of us animals in the Mammal classification have to stop, close our eyes and place our bodies in a catatonic state in order to keep functioning. In fact, if we as humans tried to go longer than eleven days without sleep, we would die. So as you can see it’s pretty important. Now like I said before, I rarely if ever struggle with sleep. My wife on the other hand? She has to have the perfect balance. The lights have to be off, our static noise machine has to be on, the temperature has to be just right, etc. And even then, she may not sleep well.
You may be saying to yourself, what in the world does a discussion about sleep and sleep habits have to do with the church? Well, for one thing I found myself awake at 4:00 AM today and so my sleep was off a bit today. For another I think the church needs to work out it’s own sleep/wake issues. In Ephesians 5, Paul references a passage of scripture out of Isaiah 60 in reference to the life of the church. Isaiah put it like this, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2) I think Paul’s reference to this passage illuminates (see what I did there) the fact as we are called into new life in Christ we are called into the light, in order to be the light. And I think this has huge implications for us.
For those of you who don’t know, I was a youth pastor for ten years prior to my immediate assignment. During those ten years, I can’t tell you how many retreats I was a part of, but I can assure you that my wake-up call was usually the same. It would usually involve some sort of pot or pan and spoon and the melodious singing of the old chorus, “Rise and Shine and give God the Glory, Glory” (my retreat goers always loved this). But I like the implications of that song. Each day we are challenged with getting up, getting going, and shining a light, not on us, but on Jesus. In fact, I think this should be such an all-consuming passion that the church universal almost appears like an insomniac for the constant light being shown on Jesus. Do I believe that we all need to disrupt our sleeping habits for the kingdom of God? No. Like I said, I like to sleep and I think I am pretty good at it (and it is a human need). But do I think that we as the church need to wake up a bit more as to our true calling in the world? Yes. We are called to point to Jesus, not ourselves. So Rise and Shine and give God the glory and make sure when you do you shine the light on Jesus, and not on yourself or your own agenda.