by Rev. Dr. Diana C. Leaf, KCH Chaplain
“We must work the works of the one who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” – John 9.4 (NRSV)
Jesus apparently spoke these words, but surely he, best friend to nocturnal fishermen, knew they were wrong as soon as they were out of his mouth. God’s work is being done in darkness all the time.
A friend calls her insomnia her “alone time with God,” but truthfully, even in the middle of the night God and she are not alone. Amidst the sleepiness of three am prayers, she remembers all the other people who are awake with her.
Not just the other insomniacs (yes, maybe even you, friend) but:
Long haul truckers moving food.
New parents nursing.
Laborers making roads straight.
Janitors making bathrooms fresh for a new day.
Nuns and monks praying the offices.
ICU nurses check patients’ vitals.
Third-shift professional caregivers with children sleeping at home.
Ministers fielding emergency phone calls.
College students pulling all-nighters.
Lovers making love, and whatever else they are making.
And so many more.
Night falls and God’s people keep working, senses sharpened in the dimness, pushing their way through, sometimes praying their way through. They are the skeleton crew of our mortal striving, keeping the supply chain going, healing and fostering new life.
Their deeds are witnessed by few or none, and still, they keep on, some in literal darkness, some in figurative darkness: laboring for a future we can’t yet know, unthanked and yet determined, moving their piece of the world toward wholeness.
God, wake us once in a while to pray for all those doing your work in the dark.