“Woke” AF. Mark 13:37
Today begins Advent, the season of preparing for not just the Christ child in the manger, but also the second coming of Christ, come to reconcile the world into the fullness and God intended God’s original creation to be. Today also begins #ShutTheHellUp, the digital discipline as we await the arrival of Christ. In this waiting, many of us are realizing that in these days, the world is not as it should or could be. These are the days where we express to powers and principalities that their time is nigh with the arrival of Christ; that they will shut the hell up and be shut into hell on that day and time for which we long and wait. Here is the explanation for this year’s Advent digital devotional. Here is the video of what it could mean for those in power to actually #ShutTheHellUp.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Today’s featured voice is Joshua Serrano. He is the father of two boys, who teach him levity. He serves as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in San Carlos, CA. In his spare time he likes to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, read, and watch unnecessary amounts of television.
I’ve known many children who have a hard time making it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Heck, I even have a hard time now. I’m not as young as I think I am. Minutes seem to lasts hours and hours seem like an infinity as my eyelids get heavier and heavier. Sleep calls to me and beckons that I just shut out the world and close my eyes. But then I wake up on the couch having slept through the ball dropping on television.
It’s hard to keep awake sometimes, especially when it matters the most. It’s hard to keep awake especially when tribulation is on the horizon. Not the kind of wakefulness of trying to not sleep, but the kind of wakefulness that comes with opening our eyes to the world.
Tragedy is everywhere. Looking for it is not required, it will find you. Eventually.
When I found out my cousin died in a motorcycle accident I was awakened by my father crying, something I had only seen once before. He was screaming the word “NO!” over and over again with tears spilling from his eyes. I walked around in a a dream-like state after that. It felt like the moments in bed where I am not fully awake but I’m not asleep either. I didn’t quite know what was reality. Was I dreaming? Was I awake?
So many people walk around in a dream-like state when tragedy strikes. It seems that when reality seems most harsh we have a tendency to not accept it, disengage, and remove our embodied selves into a disembodied mode of being.
A couple years ago I felt like this when going through a divorce.
Some of the best advice I received was from a mentor. I told him that I felt like I was walking around in a trance, like I was dreaming. “Son, you’re going to have to be ruthlessly present,” he said. We sat in silence for a minute while I processed what that meant.
I began to call myself back into my body. Sometimes when grief overtook me while I was in the shower I would say to myself, “You’re taking a shower right now. That is all you’re doing.” When I was eating and thoughts came flooding in like a tidal wave I would say, “You’re eating right now.” I tried to stay in the moment to fight the dream-like state that would come. I was keeping myself awake and present.
Keeping awake is hard when I don’t want to accept the reality of the situation.
I can’t tell you when I woke up. In fact I can’t tell you that I don’t sometimes drift into the dream-like state again, because I know I do.
I can say that I have woken to the needs of others in my life. I have accepted the responsibility and complicity in my divorce. I feel more present to people, especially to my children. I feel like I have my body again.
And yet, in the midst of this never-ending tragic nature of the human condition, there are some of us who are held captive by hope. We are a resurrection people. New life resides in our bones. As sure as Mary was pregnant with the baby Jesus, we have to keep awake to the new things that God is doing in our world and in our lives. Keep awake! Don’t drift off into sleep. Look for what God is is doing in the world.
When I speak of hope, I’m not talking about the Pollyanna kind of hope or the masking of pain or the downplaying of tragedy. I’m talking hope where life springs from death. Hope creates new life, imagines a better world, and speaks into the void that would try and make us nothing. I’m talking about the kind of hope that springs from the pain of having to face injustice day in and day out.
I believe in the kind of hope that walks right up to the devil and demands that he shut the hell up.
My dear family of God, when Jesus commanded his disciple to keep away in Mark 13:37, he was commanding them to look forward to his return. My hope is in his coming again.
May this Advent keep us awake and hopeful in the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Amen.