Those Who Watch for the Morning

Those Who Watch for the Morning


Rev. Jocelyn B. Gardner Spencer serves as senior minister of United Church on the Green in New Haven, CT, and on the Board of Directors of the Southern New England Conference.

Scripture:  Psalm 130:5-6 (NRSV)

 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
        and in God’s word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
        more than those who watch for the morning,
               more than those who watch for the morning.

Reflection: Those Who Watch for the Morning

Hey, Psalmist, I know that feeling.  My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.  Solidarity, my friend.
Many of us have known that feeling, especially in these past 17 months.  The feeling of working through the night.  The feeling of keeping watch so that others might rest.  The feeling of forsaking sleep because there is simply too much that must be done and no other time to do it.
The feeling of juggling work and family responsibilities in the midst of pandemic, caring for loved ones both young and aging, the constant 24/7 needs that are incongruent with the regular sleep schedule we know our bodies need.
The exhaustion that comes from tending the wounds of the past, coping with the disruptions of the present, and adapting to the challenges of the future, all jumbled up together at once.
The feeling of lying awake in the wee hours, mind spinning with anxiety about Covid and anger about racial injustice, with despair about climate change and fear about gun violence, with worry for those who are ill and grief for those who have died.
The feeling of wishing the time would pass and it would just be morning already, and the feeling of wishing time would slow down so you might have a chance at some rest.
The feeling of aloneness when you are awake and it seems like the rest of the world is asleep.
Hey, Psalmist, I know that feeling.  My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.  Solidarity, my friend.
And hey, Psalmist, because I know that you know that feeling, too, I am especially grateful for another thing you know, recorded just a couple pages after this one in my Bible.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
        and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
        the night is as bright as the day,
        for darkness is as light to you.  (Psalm 139:11-12)
Thanks, Psalmist, for reminding me that even as I watch and wait and pray for the morning, I need not wait until sunrise to encounter God’s presence.  God is with us in the wee hours, too.  In darkness and in light, in the night and in the day, from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn—God is in it all.  Every moment and every movement, every shadow and every brightness, every tossing-and-turning worry and even the occasional good night’s sleep, God is there.
Thanks, Psalmist.  Thanks, God.


Holy One, be with us in our nights and in our days.  Help us to trust in your presence; help us to hope in your steadfast love.  And maybe help us find some rest, too.  Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the victims and their families of the 405 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
  • For new or renewed resolve to do all that it takes to protect our neighbors from the Covid-19 disease
  • For the friends and family of Rev. Al Turner, Pastor Emeritus at South Congregational Church in East Hartford, CT, who died on July 18

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For the peaceful mornings spent in nature

 This Week in History:

August 6, 1945 (76 years ago) Heralding the end of WW II, the U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing 80,000 people in seconds with the blast. Another 60,000 or more would be dead within a year due to the effects of the bombs. Three days after the first bombs hit, the U.S. dropped another bomb on Nagasaki, killing more than 40,000. The attacks were the first and last time atomic weapons were used in wartime. Japan surrendered a few days after the bombings.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Jocelyn B. Gardner Spencer

The Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer is the President of the Southern New England Conference and the Senior Minister of United Church on the Green, New Haven CT.

August 02, 2021
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