When you woke up this morning, who had the first word? What about last night, where did the last word come from?
Have you fallen asleep while checking Twitter and mistakenly liked or retweeted something because your groggy fingers weren’t alert? Does Instagram get your touch of affection over someone right next to you? Do you awake in the morning with the need to know the news over the need to hear the word of God? Have you built into your day listening to the arguments and rage of the news channels over listening to God?
I can end the day in silence and reflection but one of the first things I do in the mornings is check sports scores, read the headlines, and follow threads on Facebook. Shamefully, I have given the precious silence of the morning, before anyone else is awake, over to chatter, inconsequence, banality, and rage. Is there a better time to pause and let God have the first word? To fall on my knees and surrender my agenda to His will? To put aside the worry and dread that can consume all?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God.”
We are told in the Gospels that Jesus would go off by himself to pray. Sometimes this was in the mornings and sometimes this was at night. Maybe it was both. But if Jesus, who was not clouded in mind and heart by sin, needed the daybreak and nightfall time with God what on earth are we doing replacing prayer with scrolling, silence with “breaking news,” and reading scripture with checking notifications?
If you were like me you went to bed last night with the map of the states branded to your mind’s eye and you woke up with the same desperate need for the final score on the 2020 election. We had an urgent need to hear the news and know the scoop.
But this was an unusual night, we all should get a pass for our obsession over an election that might be the closest we have ever seen. But, if truth be told, we don’t behave much differently on the normal mornings and nights of the year.
But the reality is all the votes are in and our civic duty has been completed and the results of the election are out of our hands. So, let us give back our time and attention to one that deserves it and should have had it all along. Where we place our minds is a freedom we all have and so let us practice that freedom in the best possible way.
Give God the first word and the last word.
Your soul is desperate for these times with God and the world has a deep need for God’s people to prioritize what matters most.