Last night, I thought about my current bedtime routine that involves reading news on my phone, laughing over funny videos, skimming Twitter, responding to email, or even drifting off to a movie. I emailed a friend to ask about her evening spiritual ritual because we’re studying the Psalms together. I had just read about the blessing that rests upon the one who mediates day and night upon God’s word. Technically, it reads like this:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
I took careful note of the “night” word. Day and night. I knew the Holy Spirit had something to teach me.
While I love my morning routine with the Lord that includes coffee, my journal, my special pen, my cozy chair, my cat, my slippers, my Bible, my favorite devotional books, my important view of the sun rising over the neighborhood—I cannot say I take the same care with my evening spiritual ritual. Because I don’t have one.
My friend prays and moves through a ritual of affirmations and gratitude. I thought about what I might do. Do you have an evening spiritual ritual? I want one! My neighbor always tells me to read the Psalms before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep. I should listen to her!
So last night, I crawled into bed early. Instead of the Psalms, I decided to read the book of Revelation (I know it’s an odd choice) because it’s such a marvelously image-driven book. I decided to meditate on certain beautiful images and think about the Lord, worship Him, and marvel before I went to bed.
I couldn’t read beyond verses 12-18. I just stayed very still in my bed and pictured what John sees:
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!
The robe, the golden sash, the snowy white hair, the eyes like fire: I was overcome. The glowing bronze feet, the voice like rushing water, the seven stars in his hand: I tried to picture it using the best of my imagination. The sword in the mouth kept me puzzled for the next few minutes. But then I read how John fell down as though dead. How could he not?
I concluded my evening ritual by closing my Bible and falling into the deepest sleep as I recounted the words of Jesus: I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!
Tonight, I’ll read on and mediate on other powerful images in the book of Revelation. I know it’s not the most comforting of books, and some might say it could foster nightmares. But for me, it’s reminding me of the awesome power of Jesus before I close my eyes in sleep.