Living Well

Keep Awake

images-1I begin each day with a pot of tea, settling into my prayer room for a time of quiet and reflection. Many days, while I’m waiting for the tea to brew, I check Facebook; and as you might imagine, I get drawn into all kinds of posts that evoke a wide range of emotions – laughter, delight, sadness, frustration, outrage.

In the last week, I have seen and read and watched posts and videos responding to the grand jury decisions in both Ferguson and NYC. Even before I saw these responses on Facebook, I was stunned when I heard the decisions on the news. What? How is this possible? Who are we as a nation? As a society? What did I miss? What were they/are they thinking? Who am I in the midst of it?

While on many days I wish I hadn’t opened Facebook before my prayer time, I am glad for the ways in which friends and colleagues have challenged me to think and pray deeply about this horrific turn of events. I am inspired by the unique and particular ways each of them has expressed their thoughts and experience. And I am left wondering . . . and praying . . . and pleading with God. What is it you want me to do? I am struggling mightily with God and with myself on this.

I want to rage at the world. I want to hide in fear. I want to shake people. I want to cry. I want to retreat. I want to stand on the street corner and shout.

The questions that arise for me, again and again, are:

What do I need to do for myself? To look deeply in my own soul and see where racism resides in dark corners, and expose those places to the intense and challenging and transforming and loving light of God.

And what can I do for my community? What gift do I have, role can I play, conversation can I have, action can I take, to help move us through and beyond our blindness, our fear, our desire for quick fixes, and develop transforming and life-giving ways to grow into the beloved community where all are known as God’s own?

I’m waiting for a clear answer; but know that the answer may be in the daily living of the Good News of Jesus as I understand it – challenging power, exposing hatred, radically including, seeing God in each soul I meet.

I’m not up to the task alone. I need the community of challenge and insight I often find on Facebook. I need the worshiping community that grounds me in prayer and love. I need my daily time of prayer and reflection to listen for God’s voice.

On the first Sunday in Advent, we heard the lesson from Mark’s Gospel (NRSV):

“Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

I think that’s what I need to do. Keep awake . . . so I am ready to see and hear God’s invitation and direction . . . whenever and however it comes.


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