There seems to be a theme in my life recently – and it has to do with waking up. Early in the summer, I wrote a blog post entitled “Doing Theology Means Waking Up!” In that post, I shared a quote from the author Clemens Sedmak in which he describes that doing theology entails. It’s worth repeating here:
Theology is an invitation to wake up: to be mindful and attentive…In fact, being awake in a world full of wonders is the privilege of children. Doing theology in the spirit of children means seeking God in all things, being aware of God’s presence, listening to God’s voice, and being attentive to the signs of the times. We can do that only if we wake up.”
So that was in the back of my mind for a lot of the summer. Also during the summer, our youth group had our Summer Sunday School which was called iPod & God. One Sunday we looked at two songs: Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and Skillet’s “Awake and Alive.” We looked at those along with Ezekiel 37 (dry bones) – and had a good conversation about what it means to be awake and alive.
And then there is my own recent desire to get back into spiritual direction and to become more aware of the presence of God in my life. It’s a small step – but an important one I think.
So all of that has been reverberating with me and then one of my pastors Kim preached a really powerful sermon about the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids a few weeks ago (you can listen to the sermon here – it’s about 10 minutes). She started off with a poem by Antonio Machado:
I love Jesus, who said to us:
Heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my word will remain.
What was your word, Jesus?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were one word:
Wake up – be alert. Then she continued on with sharing about the parable of the 10 Bridesmaids. A story that you may be familiar with – one in which 5 of the 10 are called “foolish” because they ran out of oil in their lamps and weren’t ready when the bridegroom came. Kim went out to share that she didn’t think they were foolish because of the oil – it was because at midnight, they ran away to try and find a place to buy the oil. Nothing would have been open at midnight. The lost their focus – they weren’t alert and attentive. She said:
“They were foolish because they forgot they were already invited to the wedding reception, they already had a guarantee place at the celebration. But they got distracted. They forgot. They weren’t alert.”
So all of this is just to say – I wonder if we make it too difficult sometimes. I wonder if we make the Christian life, discipleship and obedience to Christ more difficult and convoluted than it was ever meant to be. What if it is all about waking up? What if it is all about being alert, being attentive?
For it is when we are alert and awake that we will be able to see the Presence of God in the world. It is when we are not distracted and when we are attentive that we will be able to see Christ in others whom we interact with on a daily basis.
How are you going to wake up today? How will you practice being attentive and alert today? Do you think it will make any difference? Or will it make ALL the difference?