Stay Awake

I want to say something about the mission of Christ.

I want to say that it is now our mission, now our charge, now our call. I want to say that the mission will bring justice rolling down like thunder, love as deep and the endless sea, and peace like the new dawn. I want to say that this justice, love, and peace will bring us joy.

I want to say these things, but I am tired and have a cynic’s heart.

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At this point in our waiting, it’s normal to be tired and cynical. When our hope keeps getting deferred, we lose hope quickly.

When justice for unarmed black men killed by police officers keeps getting passed over, it’s easy to become cynical, angry, and to maybe even believe that justice will never come.

When cancer takes another life, it’s easy to believe that healing will never win.

When suicide runs rampant in the winter months…

When the news keeps telling us of hostage situations…

When racial tensions keep bigoted comments on your Facebook wall…

When God remains silent for 400 long years of our souls short life…

When waiting has become the norm, and there is no end of the waiting in sight, it’s easy to become numb to the darkness that is the beast outside waiting to devour us.

Maybe this is why the collect for this week says” Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us…”

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“Stir up your power, O Lord…”

This phrase gives me hope to my cynical heart. It tells me that God isn’t sleeping, but that he is somehow, in some way, active in the world around us. It tells me that we can ask him to move, to act, to do. It tells me that we love a living and active god who has power to change things around us and dispel the darkness with his light. It tells me that God is waiting to move, not lazily sitting back watching every damn thing go to hell.

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The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to live them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Isaiah 61.1-4

Jesus quotes these words at the beginning of his public ministry. He says that in him these words find their fulfillment.

At the end of his earthly time, right before he flew away to heaven, he charges us, his followers to carry out his mission, to bring good news to the oppressed, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives, and set the prisoners free. We are the ones telling people there is something to hope for, something to survive for, something to live for. We are the ones telling people about the time of the Lords favor, and how that time is here, even as we are waiting for it to come. We are those who morn now for the state of everything, for the brokenness of the world, and we are the ones whom god comforts, giving us Joy somehow in the midst of the shit.

We are the oaks of righteousness.

We are the ones in whom God’s power is stirred up, through whom his power comes into this world and begins healing, changing, restoring. We are the agents of grace, forgiveness, justice, reconciliation, restoration, peace, love, and joy.

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Stay awake, o my heart, stay awake.

Don’t let the slumber of cynicism and defeat close your eyes.

Stay awake,

For you, o heart, you are the power of God in this world, stirred up and poured out.

In your protests,

Your tears,

Your anger,

You are in step with the Spirit,

With life.

O my heart, stay awake.

Don’t let the slumber of cynicism and defeat close your eyes.

Have hope.

Remember hope.

Await your hope coming true.

Stay awake, O my heart.

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I want to give up, but Advent won’t let me. This time of waiting in the dark for light to break through won’t let me give in to the darkness. Instead, Advent makes me fight against the darkness while I wat for salvation to be made known. While I wait to see my hope, I am pushed and prodded and asked to stand against the silence, the night, the injustice, and the pain. Advent makes me an active participant in god’s salvation of all things.

And for that I need to stay awake.

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The Voice In The Wild

There is always a voice. There is always something shouting in the wilderness, protesting the status quo. There is always a voice declaring the coming kingdom of God, challenging the powers and principalities of this world, and speaking welcome to all that will come. There is always a voice that lives in the margins, away…Continue Reading