Summer rhythms have us in many different spaces and places as well as in many different mindsets. “The Liturgy of the Night” by Padraig O Tuama is a prayer with lovely imagery and words that make one linger a little with each line. It is one of the regular prayers said with the Corrymeela Community of Northern Ireland, a community creating space for reconciliation and peace in the fractured communities there. The prayer can easily be said by oneself or shared with another. It’s a prayer that speaks of luminescence and late-night laborers, softness and rest, breathing plants and resting land. Our family has been saying this prayer together, and I share it with you. Perhaps tuck this little prayer hearkening from Genesis into your metaphorical back pocket as you travel or sit on your back porch. It’s a simple way to center, remember, and name the good all around us.
A Liturgy of the NightFrom Daily Prayers by Padraig O Tuama
On the first night, God said: ‘Let there be darkness.’ And God separated light from dark; and in the dark, the land rested, the people slept, and the plants breathed, the world retreated. The first night. And God said it was Good.
On the second night God said: ‘There will be conversations that happen in the dark that can’t happen in the day.’ The second night. And God said it was Good.
And on the third night, God said: ‘Let there be things that can only be seen by night.’ And God created stars and insects and luminescence. The third night. And God said it was Good.
And on the fourth night, God said: ‘Some things that happen in the harsh light of day will be troubled. Let there be a time of rest to escape the raw light.’ The fourth night. And God said it was Good.
And on the fifth night, God said: ‘There will be people who will work by night, whose light will be silver, whose sleep will be by day and whose labor will be late.’ And God put a softness at the heart of the darkness. The fifth night. And God said it was Good.
And on the sixth night, God listened. And there were people working, and people crying, and people seeking shadow, and people telling secrets and people aching for company. There were people aching for space and people aching for solace. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God made twilight, and shafts of green to hang from the dark skies, small comforts to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth night. And God said it was Good.
And on the last night, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good. And God said it was Good.
The Rev. Laura F. GettysAssociate Rector901-252-6329 | lgettys [at] gracestlukes [dot] org