Praying with the Talmud: At Your Word, Night Falls

 

At Your Word, Night Falls
At Your Word, Night Falls
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
King of the universe!

At Your word night falls.
In Your wisdom You open heaven’s gates,
You control the elements and rotate the seasons.

You set the stars in the vault of heaven.
You created night and day.
You cause the light to fade when darkness comes
and the darkness to melt away in the light of a new day.

O ever-living and eternal God,
You will always watch over us, Your creatures.

Blessed are You, O Lord, at whose word night falls.”
The Talmud

In the middle of autumn comes that special night when our society “falls back.” Those evening hours purchased by “springing forward” when the days were already getting longer, are relinquished, and make the short days of November feel even shorter, and the dark nights even darker.

Mr. Garner is delighted by the illusory “extra” hour of sleep.  The Daughter barely notices.  Our  “treehouse,” school room has windows on three sides with views of squirrels gathering pecans, cavorting up and down the holly tree, or shaking down showers of oak leaves.  The sparkling waters of the creek cast wavy reflections on the walls adding brightness to mid-day.  I’m the one who seems most affected by the sudden early darkness.

Years ago, in my corporate cubicle years when the days were defined by business culture’s 8 am start time and 5 pm finish, the first few days of “fall back” were accompanied by an unpleasant jolt upon leaving the brightly lit office to walk out into sudden night.  Day was over. I had missed it entirely, and there were only faint echoes of the sunset on the horizon.  Driving home, the glare of approaching headlights and the colorful rivers of red tail lights upstream, punctuated by the occasional green traffic light, offered only slight comfort to the unexpected darkness.

As for this year, it’s been four months since we “fell back.”  One year has closed out, and another begun.  March has come and despite Winter Storm Thor, it’s time to enact the dictum “spring forward.” Mr. Garner will complain bitterly the first day, and continue to grouse for a week or two, to the amusement of The Daughter.

Despite the artifice, I find the extra light in the evening pleasing, like a tierce de picardie, the happy lightening of the mood at the end of a solemn minor key passage of music.  I will find it odd, for a day or two, starting our Morning Walks in the dark.  But, by the time we’ve walked our miles, turned the corner and come through the gate, the clouds will have blushed pink, then apricot, and the sun will be shining through the tree branches on the horizon.  The robins will be hopping in the yard, and bark on the trees will shift from a sooty grey to shimmery gold.

...the darkness to melt away in the light of a new day.
..the darkness to melt away in the light of a new day.

  You created night and day.

You cause the light to fade when darkness comes
and the darkness to melt away in the light of a new day.

You will always watch over us, Your creatures…

Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community places a portion of this prayer in their Rites of Passage Section – The Shadow of Death (p. 222-223). I prefer the full prayer and its reminder of the daily faithfulness of our Creator.  It’s in my Commonplace Book.

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