"Lay Me Down to Live"

A few weeks ago I had a collision of thoughts during three simultaneous events as I drove Ceara and Caleb to childcare that inspired new perspectives on faith, theology, and resurrection.

Event 1: We listened to Andrew Peterson’s new album “The Far Country.” He has a song called “Lay Me Down” in which he has a line that says, “When you lay me down to die you lay me down to live.”

Event 2: At a stop light I read an email from a friend, John Varden, stating that a parishioner I knew from Center UMC died in his sleep that night.

Event 3: As we drove through the light we reached the point on the drive where I ask Ceara if she wants to “Shema” and I proceeded to sing the Shema. This is a prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4ff that I learned while I lived in Israel, and it is something practicing Jews pray at least once, if not multiple times, a day. It starts, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength…”

Collision: I had the parishioner on my mind as I sang the part of the prayer that says, “remember these words I am commanding you today… teach them to your children when you lie down and when you rise up…,” and at that point “when you lay me down to die you lay me down to live…” rang out over the radio.

It hit me (I guess this is where the collision happens 😉 ) … Yes, I knew that Israel, as many Ancient Near Eastern cultures, observed (and still do) a lunar calendar. And I know that their day begins at sundown rather than sunrise. Their days did not begin by getting up and end with lying down. Rather, their days began (and still begin) with lying down and end with getting up and living. The symbol of resurrection practically shouted at me. Then I read Genesis chapter 1 again: “…and it was evening and morning the first day… and it was evening and morning the second day… etc…”

The Christian story has undercurrents of resurrection from the very beginning, hinted at in the greatest commandment, culminated in Easter, and now is the hope in which we can all live in the present and carry into the future.

I’m not quite sure if I expressed these thoughts clearly. I wrote them quickly in my journal and copied them just about as quickly here. I find if I wait until I re-read, edit, re-think, re-write, then the blogs never get posted, and I wanted to get these thoughts on the blog.

I welcome any comments or thoughts or reactions… thanks.




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