Dead Asleep

Dead Asleep
When we use the phrase "dead asleep" describing a deep slumber, we conjure the similarities between sleep and death - whether we realize it or not.  Poets and painters through the centuries allude to and directly connect sleep and death (think of John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud" or John Everett Millais' "Ophelia").  

Do you remember that Jesus also connects sleep and death?

  • "The girl is not dead, but asleep."  Matthew 9:24
  • “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”  Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep." John 11:11-13

And Paul:
  • "Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Romans 13:11-12
  • "Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" 1 Corinthians 15:51

We can find other instances connecting sleep and death in both the Old and New Testaments.  These verses show that there exists both a physical and spiritual death (think of the Garden of Eden).

We can be spiritually "dead asleep" - unaware of the spiritual world (the kingdom of God) at work around us. We, like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, can be unconscious to the work of God around us. We can be dead asleep.  

This painting by Andrea Mantegna (1455-1456)  (I posted earlier as a thumbnail ) is titled The Agony in the Garden and made me think of what it means to be dead asleep at the feet of Christ.


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