Awake for the Revolution?
Wakefulness is not my strong suit. It’s partially a morning problem. We’re both night people, so getting up is hard under the best of circumstances. It’s even harder these days, when the bedroom is dark and cold and the electric blanket is so cozy. The only one in the house who likes being up at 6:45 is Hector the cat.
Even when I am vertical wakefulness is hard. It’s not only that I drowse for just a moment when reading at my desk. (My boss has learned to knock before entering my cubicle.) When I’m out and about I can be, well, a bit oblivious. When I’m walking around in my urban mode, I can easily walk past a friend or acquaintance or my husband without batting an eye.
This is one of the things that makes Advent particularly hard. As Ellen preached on Sunday, this season is about wakefulness, paying attention, watching the signs of the times. It’s about being prepared for whatever or whoever might come down the pike. It can be exhausting to always be so alert. It can be scary to anticipate what might come next. Or it can be exhilarating to look forward to God’s next act of redemption. And yet that’s where we’re called in this season.
A few days before his death, Martin Luther King preached at the National Cathedral, just around the corner from us. His sermon was called “Staying Awake Through a Great Revolution.” King lamented “that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses—that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.”
Are we in the midst of a revolution that we need to awake to? I can think of a few: A revolution calling men to change the way they relate to women. A revolution calling people to change the way they relate to nature. A revolution changing the way we teach and learn. What other revolutions are we missing?
In the beginning class I tell my students that sailors have to pay attention. Watch the wind. Watch the weather. Watch how your boat is behaving. Watch for other boats.
Christians have to pay attention. Watch the wind. Watch the weather. Watch how you are behaving. Watching for other people. And maybe we won’t miss the revolution.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Advent Retreat, 12/9—We’ll meet from 9:30 am to 1 pm for this annual respite from holiday madness. Join Pastor Ellen for a morning of poetry, prayer, silence and spiritual reflection. RSVP: email@example.com.
Secret Santas for Shaw Community Center, 12/10—Thanks to all the secret Santas! Please bring your wrapped gift (with request tag attached) to church by Sunday, 12/10. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
FaithLife, 12/10—This group will meet from 6-7:30 pm in the Parlor. Have you ever wondered what Predestination or Total Depravity means? We’re engaged in a stimulating dialogue about Reformation theology and its relevance (or not!) for today. All are welcome.
Christmas Pageant, 12/17—This will be a service for all ages to enjoy. If your child or youth would like to participate, please email email@example.com. There’s a role for everyone!
Poetry Hour, 12/17—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems on the theme of Love and Joy to read (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Eve Poetry, Lessons & Carols Service, 12/24—This will be a joyful morning service of poetry, scripture and song. There will be no Sunday School, but children of all ages are welcome.
Fireside Christmas Eve Service, 12/24—Join us in the Parlor at 7:30 pm for a cozy fireside service of traditional Lessons and Carols. Friends and Family are welcome!
New Year’s Eve Service, 12/31—We’ll gather in the Parlor at 10:30 am for an Auld Lang Syne Service of remembrance for things past and hope for what’s yet to come.