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Christopher Felix Bezzina

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Sleeping God

If we examine the present challenging subjects for the Catholic Church we have a consensus that the gay rights movement is a huge stumbling block. Amidst this intense tempest-like advocacy for the protection of the traditional family or for equal rights I must say I imagine God enjoying a nice nap. Not a lazy nap, but surely not taking sides. For me sleeping is more than a reward connected with how much productive I am or not. It is more than a physical inevitability only secondary to my true important issues. Sleep is a creative space! The proverb ‘don’t leave until tomorrow what you can do today’ has become part of our psychology making sleep seems only a natural bare necessity. Too much of it is judged as laziness, and the only deserving sleep is when the job is accomplished.

For many years I have interpreted Gen 2:2 with this limited appreciation towards sleep. “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” It is like saying that God for six whole days has worked hard creating the universe and the beautiful creatures including men. Then, on the seventh day when everything was completed, He could finally rest. Then came the fall and men started corrupting nature in various ways which led them to be expelled from Eden. Such interpretation is not only limited, it also lessens the true essentials of the faith. It bounds the creativeness of God and places an image of death on us, spurred from fear. When we search the Biblical texts we start perceiving something novel about the sleep of God and men. Many examples can be found, Eve is created after a deep sleep fell on Adam (Gen 2:21); Jacob sees the heavens open when he sleeps, and then reconciliation with his brother follows (Gen 28:16); Peter and his companions heavy with sleep seeing Christ transfigured (Luke 9:32). It appears that when God sleeps or causes others to sleep is a signal that something new is about to be received. It surely indicates that God continuous, limitless, diverse and open creative aspect is not over or completed.

It is this interpretation that we are invited not to judge the current times haphazardly, and more importantly, not bind the saving-creative aspect of God to rivalry. A rival attitude is an indirect assertion that my god is better than yours. Such imagination is not only inheritable fearful, it is violent and idolatrous.

The God we discover through Christ is a God beyond group identification, belongingness or separation. Any action should happen through gentleness and openness, but also in contemplation of the darkness of our understanding. If this scares us then it is time to confront the fear and start knowing Christ in a new way. Maybe we are invited to sleep with Christ and patiently wait until yet again we experience the saving-creativeness of God being broadened.

This article originally appeared first on the “Zuntier“.

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