(This is the second in a series of posts from a message delivered November 27, 2016. The texts were Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13: 11-14, and Matthew 23: 37-44.)
I can’t sleep late anymore. But I used to be able to ignore every noise, ignore my own to-do list, and sleep. During those moments, my attention is focused on me. On my blanket and pillow. On my comfort.
In Romans 13, Paul’s concerned that people can fall into that kind of drowsiness about life. We can move about our lives only interested in our own comfort.
We may be awake, of course. Paul’s not saying that we’re always in bed. But he’s saying that we can be unaware of the REAL needs of people that are living next door, of people that are living in the next state or country or continent. And even the real needs of the person in the mirror.
We are asleep in the slumber of self-indulgence. Paul calls out mindless, mocking partying, with the goal of forgetting everything. He calls out sexual selfishness. A view of the body that is about my pleasure, not anyone else’s. Or even at the expense of others. He calls out arguments and jealousy, which about me. I argue because I want to win regardless of what is right. I’m jealous because I believe I deserve what they have more than they do.
Paul’s talking about being asleep to the reality of God’s way of life.
And Paul says, “Wake up.” Reach over and turn on the light. Live in awareness of the love of God and the value of others. Live as a light bearer.
Karl Metzler, the Appalachian Trail runner, says that the hardest part of setting the speed record for the AT isn’t the 50 miles a day. The hardest part is getting up at 4:30 every morning and going back on the trail by 5.
If we don’t wake up, we won’t complete the work.
For details from Karl Metzler, listen to the Runner’s World podcast.
For an ebook Advent reader, Anticipation: An Advent Reader.
And starting on December 1, we’re going back to Saint John of the Mall.