Last night I experienced one of those dreams in which you’re aware that you’re sleeping and can almost see yourself. It was a kind of scary deep sleep that I wanted to wake up from but just could not. I felt as if I were dead–sleeping as dead as a log, as they say. The experience made me grateful to open my eyes to the light of day this morning. And it got me thinking… going to bed at night and waking up in the morning is symbolic of death and resurrection.
I don’t really want to be morbid or anything but sleep kind of does resemble death in a way because you are resting so passively. This is why death is spoken of as falling asleep. But taking the metaphor the other way around means there is a waking up from death. Interesting. It makes sense then that New Testament writers referred to the dead as those who have fallen asleep. They were writing from the perspective of hope in Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life. It was Jesus himself who pointed out that death is essentially falling asleep. before he raised a 12-year-old girl from death to life by essentially telling her to wake up, he reassured her family that she was merely sleeping.
When Jesus’ hour to be put to death arrived, St. John noted that it was night. He contrasts that with the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the morning of the first day. Death has its hour of night while Resurrection has its day. In Jesus Christ, death (the separation of immortal soul from body, causing the latter to decay) has been reduced to sleep—a sleep from which we have the real hope of waking up with resurrected bodies (soul reuniting to body, causing it to become incorruptible)! I look forward to that day, the eternal day that never ends. Until then, may every sunrise serve as a reminder.
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5).