Livable Liturgies: Making the bed as an act of defiance

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning... Lamentations 3.22-23a
"The adversary would destroy the internal by destroying the external" Pilgram Marpek (d. 1556).

"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen." (traditional)

Nearly every day, I utter (sometimes only inarticulately mutter) this prayer.  The key phrases "preserve me...that I may not fall into sin, nor overcome by me to the fulfilling of your purpose" kind of force me to do something. Often the snooze button tempts me.  Sometimes the coming day frightens me.  The sun rises as an unstoppable foe clearing the horizon, unfazed by vain attempts to slow its advance. But there's no way to fight it or flee it. 

I get up. I make my bed.

I commit an external act to get an internal state moving into first gear (thanks Marpek). I make my bed, as a commitment to the purposes of God.  And coffee isn't far away to keep me going in the right direction.

Jesus understands that some days the temptation to delay the start of the day, or extend the escape, is real. And as long as the covers are turned down, the bed is available as a retreat from the the fact that "each day has troubles" (Matthew 6:34), there is a chance that I might crawl back, close my eyes and hide my head. Since each day "has troubles of it's own" yet to appear, if I just close my eyes, I won't see them. Jesus understands. 

Even after making the bed I could easily pull back the covers and hide away. But something about the ritual of making the bed tells me that this part of the day is done and I need to move on into what God's purposes are for me this day.  It is a simple ritual that could be misunderstood as a "tidying things up" or a mechanistic habit carrying over from childhood with the words of your mother, "were you raised in barn?"

But what if one of the first acts of the day is a commitment to throw yourself into God's unfolding mercies and challenges and wonders? Get up. Make your bed. Get on with it.

“Our struggles in this world are similar, and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward — changing ourselves and the world around us — will apply equally to all…. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.... And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed” (William McRaven, UT News, 2014).

So as a reminder that I am committing myself to the mission of God, and even as a hope for a better tomorrow, I make my bed. 



Tickle, P. (2015). Fixed Hour Prayer. Retrieved from explorefaith:

UT News. (2014, May 14). Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World. Retrieved from UT News The University of Texas at Austin:

YouTube. (2015). commercial. Retrieved from

Hass, C. J., (1992). Readings from Mennonite Writings: New and Old. Good Books, Intercourse, PA. p45.