Awake, Awake, Yes, I’m Trying to Stay Awake…
The church year begins this morning, and we enter a brief season of anticipation, we now hear the words of the Gospeller Mark at chapter 13:25-37. Jesus’ last words in this portion of scripture are “And what I say to I say to all: ‘Stay Awake.'”
When I read this scripture, I immediately was drawn to those Christmas Eves when I was a child – going to bed as told at 8:30 a.m. and then lying awake until midnight or past, waiting breathlessly for Santa and the Christ Child, in that order. And still you and I wait. Now we don’t wait to run into the living room to see what is left under the tree; now we wait for the advent of Christ in human form, God made manifest in a child who became a man, who offered himself up as the supreme sacrifice of us all. This is a yearly vigil that is refreshed every autumn at this time.
What should we do to keep vigilant? To stay awake, for we don’t know the day or the hour, the time in which Christ will return to humanity and a new world order proclaimed?
As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we take this time to cleanse our hearts and minds of those things that keep us from hearing the Word – anxiety over daily tribulations, petty jealousies, finding ways to get ahead, envy, greed, selfishness. These next weeks give us an opportunity to empty ourselves and make room in our hearts, minds, and souls for the unconditional love of God and Christ Jesus, a love that transcends all else. In doing so, we prepare ourselves for the work we have been called to, each to their own ability and capacity. We open ourselves to ministry to one another and ourselves and Christ and this season of preparation makes us ready for another year of holy work by holy people.
Stay awake – when you see someone passing by, wonder in your heart if that is the face of God and give thanks for the blessings bestowed; stay awake to hear the good news either preached with words or by deeds; stay awake to extend Christ’s love to someone in need. Stay awake, for when Jesus arrives, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – thank you for keeping watch.”
Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord!