Stay Awake!

March 23, 2013 - 9:54 AM

During the summer of 1988 I was working on a project that was studying the effects of pesticides on Great Horned Owls.  My role was to nightly map out the home range of owls that we had previously affixed radio transmitters. I drove lonely gravel (and sometimes dirt) roads for hours at a time during the night to triangulate signals from various birds.  During the day, as part of my graduate research, I was searching for Cooper's Hawk nests.  Let's just say, hooting with the owls at night, didn't lend itself with soaring with the hawks during the day!  Or vice versa.

Staying awake, especially at night, was an issue. One evening on my owl route, I remembered fighting sleep while driving.  I saw a sign that warned of a sharp turn ahead.  I then saw the sharp turn just 50 yards ahead or so and told myself, "Don't fall asleep."  But I did!  And my head bounced up just in time for me to make the turn.  The sign was there, but I couldn't stay awake.  

In Mark 13, Jesus before his betrayal, conviction, and execution, points out the signs that his disciples should take note of...signs of the end of the "temple age" and signs of the absolute end of the age.  And he warns them (three times!) to "Stay awake!"  

Ever since his ascension to the right hand of the Father, 40 days after his resurrection, God's people have been in the end times. Signs throughout the centuries remind us that Christ will return.  And today is sooner than yesterday.  In light of this, we must also "stay awake!" We must stay awake and not be lulled to sleep by wealth and health and comfort...and then before we know it make wealth and health and comfort our gods!  We must be vigilant in remembering that as followers of our suffering Christ, we also must be willing to lay ourselves down for the world.  Even when we are betrayed, falsely accused, and suffering.  It's the way of love.  More so, it's the way of God.  

Sunday we will explore this most difficult text some more and hopefully be encouraged to more faithfully follow the Master as we enter this annual reminder of his way of suffering, even to the cross, because of God's love for the world.  

Grace and peace,