Wake Up!


May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to all: "Watch!"
Mark 13:36-37

I'm living out of a hotel room for three days this week as I attend a training for lead pastors in Houston, TX.  The bed I slept on last night was a bit on the firm side, and so I tossed and turned a good bit--unable to really rest like I wanted.  

When my alarm blared this morning at 5 AM, I wasn't ready for it.  I also wasn't ready for the text I'd unwittingly received just a few minutes earlier. A friend was about to go into surgery and her family was texting to see if I would pray for her over the phone.  

Without any coffee on board, and shaking off the fog of the night before, I found words to say and prayed that her surgery would go well and that she and her family would have peace.  I felt like it probably wasn't my best work, but it came from my heart.  

A few minutes later I received a text from her--an emoji of a heart wrapped in yellow ribbon.  

Interestingly, my devotional reading this morning contained the passage of Scripture at the top of this devotion from Mark 13.  Jesus exhorts his followers to be alert, to stay awake because he wants them to be aware of where God is at work in the world, and not to be sleepwalking through life.  

There's plenty of reasons why most of us choose to be less-than-awake.  Given the state of our society, it's sometimes easier to stay "asleep" than to wake up and face the truth about ourselves or the world we create.  

Author and activist Philip Berrigan once wrote: 

"Jesus warns us against 'sleeping,' against being out of it while the world lurches on in it's mindless, violent way.  Jesus summons us to regard the world as Gethsemane, to watch and stay awake." 

How much of our lives do we spend sleepwalking when we've been commanded by Jesus to stay alert?  How much of the world's suffering do we sleep through?  How often are we too slow and groggy to react to those who are in need?  

During this season of Lent, let us shake ourselves awake and be alert to what God is doing in the world around us.  Let us open our heavy eyes and see more clearly where we are called to follow Jesus, as we struggle down the Lenten path to the Cross.   

Let us let these words of the Apostle Paul fill us with new vitality, energy, and joy for the journey.  

Awake O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 
Ephesians 5:14

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  

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