As some of you know, I’m a chronically poor sleeper. There’s a large group of us in this congregation as I’ve learned. Either we can’t get to sleep or we wake up multiple times. We can’t shut off our brains and just let sleep envelope us in its comforting cocoon of regeneration. I’ve tried all kinds of remedies, with limited success.
I often rehearse in my head the things I should have said, the things I should have done, and the things that I should do. These are the “shoulds.” The “shoulds” that keep many of us awake. I struggle, as many do, to shut off these “shoulds” and live in the freedom of love that Jesus in particular promised. I understand the life of love and hope to which we are called, but I often harbour in my heart cynicism, despair and judgement, and then worry why I can’t reconcile my outer life with my inner thoughts. All at 3:30 am!
Part of my own struggle is to reconcile teachings of Jesus with my own doubts and judgements. For example, the Sermon on the Mount at the beginning of Matthew is wonderful wisdom by which to live; but it is very demanding stuff! This is the Jesus of non-violent disobedience. This is the Jesus that taught the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, how to resist racism and oppression with love. It’s tough stuff and while I believe it to be true, my mind begs to debate.
Maybe Jesus understood this need to debate hard teachings; there’s a little formula that Jesus used: “You’ve heard it said… thus and so…, but I tell you… »»