Are you awake?” our mother inquires while knocking on the bedroom door, making sure we are ready for school.
“Are you awake?” our spouse asks when our eyes close halfway through a movie.
“Are you awake?” we ask a friend who sounds as though she is asleep when she answers the phone in the middle of the afternoon.
Are you awake? It’s a question we ask and respond to often.
Jesus had one request of the disciples while waiting in Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion: Can you stay awake? The disciples could not. Are we any different? Are we awake—ready for the day of the Lord? Paul encourages the Thessalonians to stay awake because no one knows when Jesus will return.
How awake are you?
Do you remember the first time you were awakened, roused to the place where you started to comprehend and accept Jesus’ love and mercy? To be awakened is to see and sense Christ’s presence at work in your life. But to stay awake requires that we respond to his grace with our whole being, allowing ourselves to be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ.
We all have tricks for how to stay awake: drink extra caffeine, stretch our legs, go outside. But do we know how to remain awake for Jesus?
We stay awake each time we repent of our sin, turning away from our ways and turning toward Christ’s ways. From what do you need to turn away?
We stay awake each time we let go of old habits. Paul names drunkenness as an example. What do you need to let go of?
We stay awake each time we practice acts of love and mercy. How can you offer love or mercy to the people around you today?
Creating God, awaken us to your presence in our lives and help us stay awake always. Amen.
In the book of Judges, we find a woman confidently leading a patriarchal nation as though it were an everyday occurrence. The psalm reminds us that the need for mercy reduces each and every one to a posture of outstretched hands and upturned eyes. To sing such a song on the way to worship, as was traditionally done, is to prepare the mind and heart for the possibility of whatever blessing may be given upon arrival. In First Thessalonians we overhear an apostle’s exhortation to live openly and expectantly regarding God’s future revelation—alert to the coming of Christ but also aware that Christ may come in sudden and unanticipated ways. Finally, a parable in Matthew runs counter to our instincts to safeguard that which we treasure, challenging us to consider the ways in which faithfulness involves a strange coupling of risk and reward.
• Read Judges 4:1-7. Reread the last paragraph of Monday’s meditation and reflect on the writer’s two questions.
• Read Psalm 123. How do you address God? Is God more “enthroned above” for you, or “right here in [your] midst”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. The writer states, “We stay awake each time we practice acts of love and mercy.” When have you felt divinely awakened by an act of love?
• Read Matthew 25:14-30. Identify ways you take risks in your life presently. Do any of these risks relate to living out your faith?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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