Preaching in June I was struck by two consecutive passages about sleep given us to think about on two consecutive weeks.
Jesus told a parable to illustrate how the ‘kingdom’ works. In a sense all the farmer has to do is to sow seed – and then go off to sleep! It was a picture appreciated by Martin Luther who might seem to have been a workaholic but in fact believed in sleep – and drinking German beer with his friends! Worrying by contrast may achieve nothing for a ‘kingdom’ that God brings in his own way.
And then immediately there’s the story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat in a storm. Jesus, however, was asleep while the other passengers were panicking. At the time they found this really strange. Later they came to understand what it meant.
Which set me thinking of other sleepy moments. Early on in the gospel story we read of Jesus getting up in the early morning for solitude – and prayer. While in the closing events, Jesus is awake in Gethsemane praying while the disciples sleep.
So the Christian faith isn’t for or against sleep – or holidays – or work. What all this tells us is that there are appropriate times for and against. But the thread of continuity is a sense that God is at work even when we take a break.
This year so many of us are thinking more than usual about what constitutes a holiday and how we can arrange one. If you’ve not already had that privilege I’m sure the gospels would recommend us to seize the opportunity if we possibly can.