Whether Awake or Asleep

Whether Awake or AsleepImage: Whether Awake or Asleep © Jan Richardson

Reading from the Epistles, Year A, Proper 28/Ordinary 33/Pentecost +23: 1 Thessalonians 5.1-11

For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining
through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us,
so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.
– 1 Thessalonians 5.9-10

How would it be for us to become so awake to God that we know God even in our sleeping: the sleeping we do in the rhythm of daily life, and the final sleep that will carry us beyond this life? What would it be like to live completely present to the hope that makes a home in our grief (to pick up on Paul’s words last week from 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18), the hope that draws us beyond death? How might it be to live so aware of God’s love for us that it becomes our light, our heartbeat, our breathing to the end of our days—and the beginning?

How will we stay awake to this hope, this love, this God who lives with us in every moment?

Whether Awake or Asleep
A Blessing

This is the blessing
that writes itself
in your sleeping.

This is the blessing
that inscribes itself
in your waking.

This is the blessing
that twines through
your heart
with every beat,
that lays itself
across your brow
in every moment,
that breathes with you
in every breath

so that even
in your resting
you know
and even
in your slumber
you are aware
and even
in your dreaming
your heart keeps time
with the voice that calls
to you


– Jan Richardson

For reflections on the Gospel reading for this week, visit Blessing the Talents and Parabolic Curves.

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Using Jan’s artwork…
To use the image “Whether Awake or Asleep,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

8 Responses to “Whether Awake or Asleep”

  1. Saskia Kidd Says:

    Thank you!
    Bless you.

  2. Bev Wilson Says:

    Thank you, Jan. so timely for me today. God bless you.

  3. Melynne Rust Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you dear Jan. Your words, not just today but over the years I have known you, have often been the words that have kept me awake to God’s presence, God’s love. You are such a blessing. And deep blessings of hope and peace to you, especially today on the first anniversary of Gary’s surgery and for the days and weeks ahead that will hold more firsts to move through. I will be holding you in my heart during this time.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Melynne, thank you for your grace-bearing words and blessings. They came as a particular gift on the anniversary of Gary’s surgery, and I am holding them close as I continue to navigate these days of “firsts.” I am so grateful for your thoughtfulness and for the gift of your own words that are a blessing in this world.

  4. Carrie Says:

    Thank you for sharing your gifts!!

  5. Pastor Kathy Brown Says:

    Jan, thank you…my journey of awakening truly to my journey to and with you and all others with God came breathing into me through your book “In the Sanctuary of Women”…and it changed the direction of my life and I just want to all the years later tell you thank you. God has touched so many through word of mouth and the speaking of the many spiritual truths you have laid on paper and on hearts such as mine. I pray God continues to use your art as paintings and words to touch women such as I…ready to receive Truth in Jesus Christ and our Creator God.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Pastor Kathy, thank you so much! What a gift to receive your words about In the Sanctuary of Women. I am grateful to you for being in touch. Know I’m sending many blessings as your journey continues to unfold. Thank you again!

  6. Jan Richardson Says:

    Friends, deep thanks to you for your comments and the gift of your words. They are manna for my way. I am grateful!

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