Keep Awake

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.  Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,  or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.  And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”


                                                                            Mark 13:32-37


Back in college, I served as a youth counselor.  One night, I helped chaperone a youth trip to see the Newsboys in Jacksonville, FL.  Tallahassee was three hours away, so we returned, from the concert, in the wee hours of the morning.  That particular weekend, I was house sitting for a couple from our church.  As I returned to their home, I went in and disarmed the alarm. Once I was inside, I rearmed it.  Exhausted, I staggered to the bedroom, slipped on my pajamas, and collapsed onto the bed.  As I am drifting off to sleep, I started to hear voices outside the window.  As you can imagine I was a bit spooked.  I quietly picked up my overalls from the floor and pulled them on.  In my sleepiness, unbeknownst to me, I had pulled them on backwards and over the top of the pajama bottoms.  What a sight I must’ve been!  

As I creeped through the house, I could hear voices all around the outside.  At this point, I was beginning to be quite scared.  I started flipping on every light in the house.  And then outside the sliding glass door, I saw a police officer with a dog.  I thought to myself, “What in the world is going on?”  

Apparently in my stupor, I had sent a silent duress alarm.  They had an alarm system whereby if you hit the alarm one number off, it would automatically alert the cops.  So, the police had come to rescue me.  The cops including the canine unit searched the whole house and made sure everything was okay.  

Now, when I hear this Markan text, I am instantly taken back to this time in college many years ago.  For "no one knows” when but the          Father . . . .  We do not know when Christ will return.  Nor do we know when each of our times here on earth will come to fruition.  Whether Christ returns in our lifetime or we are called home, for each of us there will be a time when we come face to face with God.

As we continue in the season of Advent, another theme of Advent, in addition to waiting and hoping,  is preparing.  Advent reminds us of the importance of living lives in such a way that we are always prepared, always ready.  Prepared to meet God face to face at any given point.  Does this mean we walk around sleep deprived, because we are trying to “keep awake” and to “keep alert"?  By no means.  

Jesus uses a metaphor to remind us to live lives of readiness.  But what does readiness really look like?  Readiness embodies living lives where we continue to grow in loving God and loving one another, more and more.  Advent reminds us, once again, to place loving God and loving one another as the main priority of our lives.  Advent is a season of recentering and reorienting.  Just as in the secular world we make New Year’s Resolutions, Advent represents the begininng ot the Christian Year.  Unlike New Year’s Resolutions which are so often broken, Advent offers us a reminder of what is important in life.  At Advent we are reminded of a God who loves us so much that God meets us where we are.  God’s immeasurable love for us is embodied in the person of Jesus the Christ.  

Jesus comes to rescue us from ourselves and all that which separates us from God, self, one another, and all of creation.  Jesus comes to bring reconciliation and abundant life.  Jesus calls us to love God and one another with the same sacrificial love that he has.  How will you prepare the way of the Lord with the very way that you live?  How can you show your love of God?  How can you show your love of people?  Find ways to worship God in all circumstances.  Find ways to share God’s love with all that you meet.

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