The night has passed, and the day lies open
before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.
Silence is kept.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the
light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for
you; now and for ever. Amen.
Morning Prayer, Common Worship
SINCE I saw the TV series Game of Thrones, this prayer
is entwined in my mind with the red priestess from that programme.
The priestess, a devotee of a fire god, regularly proclaims: "For
the night is dark," and some poor disciple responds: "And full of
terrors". When I hear it, as inevitably as the most fixed
word-association, I think of these words from morning prayer, and
the contrast between the two.
There is a strong tendency in the human heart to feel ourselves
to be surrounded by terrors. These terrors - whether heresy,
anarchy, poverty, or the dark unknown that stalks the streets in
search of our children - must be kept at bay by whatever means
Blinded by our fears, we allow many kinds of injustice, for fear
of the worse horror that might creep through if we let down our
guard. Good is left undone, for fear of the bad that might happen
instead of our good intentions. The door to peace is closed, for
fear that we might be taken advantage of in our vulnerability.
When we are frightened, the people around us can become objects,
only the means of our safety or our peril. The night is dark, and
full of terrors.
No, Paul says. "The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So
then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of
light" (Romans 13.12, ESV).
The time for darkness finished with the Easter triumph. We are a
resurrection people. Vulnerability is part of the deal - not stupid
exposure to risk, of course, but the openness proper to a loving
life. God has already won the victory, and we must live in that
confidence. "Even darkness is not dark to you, for the night is as
bright as the day" (Psalm 139.11, CW).
This opening sally in morning prayer opens the door of our
heart, and reminds us that the day belongs to God: the God who,
time and again, tells us not to be afraid; the God who demands that
we see each and every person as his child, a subject of his or her
In the silence, we offer the coming day to God. It is a chance
to give God all the risks we face and all the people we might meet,
but it is also an opportunity to God-bathe, to sit in the light of
our Redeemer, to hear his reassurance, and rest in his
"The night is passed, and the day lies open": it is God's great
gift to us - his abiding in the day-to-day business of our life. So
we carry within our hearts that dwelling, that light, that fire of
the dawn from on high, as we enter the next diurnal rotation.
We are born anew to love, to risk, to live for and in heaven,
even while shadows are still fading around us: we are citizens not
of the night, nor subjects of its terrors, but children of the
The Revd Lindsay Llewellyn-MacDuff is a prison-service