Sleeping with bread was the Archbishop of the Southern Cone’s idea, back in the days when we were on the Anglican frontier (2006) and our Episcopal bishop had told us there were many “Ways, Truths, and Lives” and that Jesus just happened to be his. It was after that visit by our Bishop that we had to find a new authority. We slid under the tent of Bishop John Guernsey, refugees in the Anglican Church of Uganda, thankful for generations of faithful Africans rooted by revival, hoping to grasp onto the Spirit as they. During that time, the only pastoring we found was an occasional trip to Calvin College’s chapel or on Anglican TV. We were hungry to be fed by the faithful and Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone spoke truth with the hammered-out conviction of years on the mission field. We watched his devotional given to bishops and priests from the Anglican Network over and over.
I’m sure he was talking about something else and like all of us preachers, we have a tendency to take rabbit trails and expect others to follow us, but there was this beautiful gem that shined out in the middle. I grasped at it.
He shared in his British accent that a priest had confessed to having nightmares and how he had asked the priest to recount his normal nightly schedule. “What do you do before you go to sleep?” he inquired. “Just a little time in front of the tv,” the priest admitted. The Archbishop decided to pry further, “And what is it that you watch?” “Oh, Murder mysteries, detective shows and the like.” And I know, friends, normal American nightly bedtime fare, right? “Ahhhh, son,” the Archbishop had said, “then that’s just where we need to focus. Swap out the violence with a scripture, a short one. Bring to bed with you just a phrase or two. Run it through the mind, inside and out and you’ll find your nights are much more peaceful.”
I like simple answers. The hard spiritual exercises, no matter how beautiful make this simple mama overwhelmed. And although I love the long stillness of time with the Father at a retreat center, I don’t normally have hours to spend in a prayer closet. My kids require a very present referee or seriously…they would hurt each other. A simple scripture meditation as I fall asleep? Done.
That first night as I brought the scripture to bed, my heart was not only refocused on truth, His Presence warmed me as a shawl. The Word literally wound its way in and out of my dreams.
Then miraculously, this same verse? It was my first waking thought. Not anxiety. Not a to do list. Word, warm and fresh.
Then because the Word had parked itself in the forefront of my mind, the Spirit was able to serve it up to me again several times that next day. The Word was present like a snack to feed on all day long. Nourishing. Transforming.
I don’t know about you, but if spiritual transformation can sometimes feel like walking through thick muck, the tug and the pull of our human nature whining, this simple exercise felt more like sailing with all the sails unfurled. I woke up every morning a little bit more unstuck, a little more eager to obey, a little more healed.
Viktor Frankl tells the story of the restless children of the Holocaust unable to sleep peacefully and the wise, old people who would tuck the children into bed with a hearty crust. With bread in their arms they were free to sleep. With bread in their arms they grasped firm what they needed for tomorrow.
In this simple practice I was tucked in with bread, waking up with bread, nourished with Word throughout the day.
And you friend,
if anxiety slams you hard as darkness falls, I encourage you, try this simple practice.
If you finger through Scripture memory cards and then give up in frustration, try holding bread.
If your mornings are clouded with despair, tuck in with bread.
If you crave for your broken pieces to be a healed and mortared mosaic, go to sleep with bread.
Dear friend, this is part 1 in a series. If you want to come along to learn more of the practical side to healing, the practical side to knowing His Presence, put your email address in the Connect box on the right hand side.
Want to read about another time when tucking in with bread dislodged my lies? Click here.
Try this simple wisdom of the Archbishop’s with me? Tonight, tuck in with bread then come back. Share the gift with all your sisters here.