Stay Awake

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In light of the service in the Commons today, here are my thoughts from the church blog about Jesus’ warning to stay awake in Mark 13 and 14:

It was a dark night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had just had shared a last Passover meal in the upper room with His disciples. Now as He brought His three closest friends with Him in the Garden the enormous weight of the suffering He would face on the cross loomed over Him. He had a simple request to them: please stay up with me. Don’t fall asleep. Stay awake. Peter heard this but soon heaviness overcame his eyelids and he was unable to stay awake with Jesus. Twice Jesus had to wake him up. It was a simple request: stay with me in my time of need. In the Garden of anguish with suffering quickly approaching, Peter, could not stay awake with His Lord.

I remember Pastor Steve saying in the Commons, God doesn’t make bad people good, or even make good people nice. God makes dead people alive. Let me also add … God takes people who are sleeping to Him and wakes them up. This is what the gospel does. It awakens something in people so that regardless of how they “feel” they are attuned to God, listening, watching, waiting. They sense that God is graciously at work in them and around them. It awakens them to a love that stirs their heart.

I have read portions of Ann Voskamp’s marvelous book, One Thousand Gifts. She insightfully writes, “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away… When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent by being all here…”

This holiday season, stay awake to Jesus! Lean into Him and be all there. Don’t let the busyness of the season nor the blurred focus that most people have of Christmas, lull you to sleep. Jesus’ words to Peter and the other disciples are His words to us today. Let your heart awaken in love to the marvelous story of God the Son’s entry into this world!

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