My ears pricked up this week at the news of a new research paper entitled ‘The Morality of Larks and Owls’. Examining the relationship between our ethical choices and our body clocks, an American study of 200 volunteers has basically established that ‘morning people’ are more honest in the morning and less honest in the evening, while ‘evening people’ are more honest in the evening and less honest in the morning.
It brought me back to Theological College. Our Morning Prayer was slightly shorter than our Evening Prayer because we dropped the Penitential section. It was reckoned there was more need for Confession and Absolution at the end of the day rather than at the beginning. Well, allowing for what this study suggests about our internal timetables, any stereotype that ‘morning people’ are more virtuous and ‘evening people’ more dissolute, would seem to be out the window.
But Jesus once posed the disciples a rhetorical question on this subject: Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Christ asked them. He went on to say: Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them. There’s something about starting fresh on a new day, an opportunity to make good on yesterday, to manage things just that little bit better. But then as a lark rather than an owl, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Ask me again at six or seven o’clock this evening when I’ll be doing my best to behave myself.
Lord of this and every new day: be with us in our workplaces, our homes and our relationships, especially when energy levels fall, when we drop our moral guard and when we become less than the people you want us to be. Amen