I am blogging this Advent from #decolonizelutheranism’s Advent devotional, Shut Up. (That would be the sanitized version)
“And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:37 (ESV)
I am awake.
Why am I awake? What am I awake for?
Jesus tells me to “stay awake” because the master is coming. The master is coming. In a long talk he gives to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, after someone asks him to say when “these great stone buildings” of the temple will be thrown down, Jesus tells them to watch the signs, and be wary, and pay attention, and do not be afraid.
And when it all comes crashing down — that great “abomination of desolation” — then flee with what you have.
So stay awake. Watch. Listen. Be ready. It’s coming. But no one knows when.
What a miserable command to give. “Watch the signs and be ready but I’m not going to tell when it will happen because I don’t know, it just will,” is kind of a lousy thing to say. How do you live like that without going paranoid or crazy, a prepper hiding in a well-stocked bunker, or a dedicated Marxist convinced that revolution is right around the corner. Hang on, the world is going to change. We have been promised.
Yeah, it’s hard to live like that. Hard to live on that edge. How many have lived with rapture fantasies only to realize that this latest antichrist — and somehow, that anticrhist is never our leader, and the wars and rumors of wars that are signs of the end are never our wars — is just one more big disappointment. Though Jesus warned us that was coming, too.
In 2,000 years of watching and waiting and trying to stay awake, we have always looked to the skies and heard the reports and wondered — Is now the time? Are we the people?
Hard to live like this. To live awake. To live with lamps full of oil, ready to light. To do our work, get up every day and lives our lives like this, to always be ready.
How nice it would be to sleep. Just a little. To rest. Like the disciples. At Gethsemane.
“Are you sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come.”