During the summer holidays between school years at King’s, I worked at a Petro-Canada gas bar and convenience store in Abbotsford. At the time, we were tied with a gas bar in New Westminster for being the busiest Petro-Canada in BC (maybe even Canada). A lot of my hours there were logged working the night shift, from 10pm-6am the first couple of years, then from 11pm-7am the last couple of years. Some weeknights, I worked that shift alone. Although I didn’t mind the job overall and the management rewarded their employees generously for work well done, I found that being awake at such hours left much to be desired. In fact, I found little redeemable in working the “graveyard shift” and continued to feel sorry for people who are forced to be awake at such God-forsaken hours.
Because of my recent reading of Psalm 134, I feel a little differently today and no longer perceive the graveyard hours as God-forsaken. My TNIV Study Bible refers to this psalm as “a liturgy of praise – a brief exchange between the worshippers, as they are about to leave the temple after the evening service, and the Levites, who kept the temple watch through the night.”
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD. (vs. 1)
The psalm reminds me of two very salient facts: First, that the Levites continue their work through the night reveals that God is worthy of worship 24/7. God does not allow His people to reduce worship as something one schedules (or squeezes) into specific slots at “a decent hour” into one’s calendar. God is worthy of ongoing, nonstop worship. Regardless of the hours you find yourself awake, God can be praised! I wonder, if we fall asleep thinking of God, are we able to worship even in our sleep?
Second, that the Levites continue their work through the night reveals that God is present with them. God did not call His people to keep a night watch at the temple so that He could sleep until morning! God was with the Levites through the night as surely as He is with us through the night, whether we’re awake or asleep. What’s more, God is not only awake, but actively at work in the world, inviting us the moment we awake to partner with Him in what He’s been up to while we’ve been sleeping. Oh that we are alert more often to His divine activity around us!
Do you work in the middle of the night? Welcome God into your graveyard shifts. He is with you, and you can praise Him even then.
Google Maps “Street View” of 2054 Whatcom Road, Abbotsford BC.