November 15, 2014
“So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober…”
1 Thessalonians 5:6
Last night I came home after a four and a half hour finance meeting at the conference center. I wasn’t ready to go to bed; my brain was too fried to do any work, so I sat down in front of the TV to watch something before I turned in for the night. I must have been more tired than I realized, because next thing I knew, I woke up to find the show I had been watching was over, the news was on, and everyone else had gone to bed. I had no idea what I had missed on the show. A few years ago – before on demand playbacks – I would have been unable to catch up until the reruns played. Whatever I had missed would be gone, at least until the end of the season.
Fortunately, I have cable with On Demand, so someday soon I will sit down and call up the show I missed and watch the last half. But as I read this text assigned by the lectionary for this coming Sunday, I realized that life doesn’t always have On Demand. If we aren’t awake, if we aren’t vigilant, things can happen when we fall asleep, unanticipated events occur, and we might miss something really important.
Paul reminds us that we need to stay awake and aware in this life, always prepared for whatever may come. We may see tragedies unfold or great joys blossom. We may see evil reaching out or God’s hand at work in wondrous ways. As Christians we believe that someday, the time will come when we or those who follow us will see the return of Jesus Christ. Whatever, we need to keep our eyes open, our hearts ready to respond in faith, and our souls prepared.
As we move toward the start of the Advent season, a season of preparation, let’s be sure to keep awake. Let’s live with our eyes open, watching for signs of God’s presence in the world, celebrating what God has done. Let’s not be people who doze off and ignore the presence of God. Instead, we’ll be the ones who are vigilant, expectant and ready to rejoice and cooperate when we see God acting for the salvation of the world. Thanks be to God that we have the eyes to see and the hearts to celebrate God’s activity in our world!
Prayer: Your mighty hand is at work in our world, O Lord, but only those who are awake and watching will see. Open my eyes to the sight of your presence. Open my heart to rejoice at what you are doing. Empower me to use my gifts to be part of the great work of redemption in which you are engaged. Keep me vigilant and ready to dive in to do my part in reaching the world for Jesus Christ. For I ask it in his name. Amen.