Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wake Up

This week I am starting a message series called “The Jesus I Want to Know,” focusing on the person of Jesus and drawing from passages in Luke’s gospel. For this reason our WHCC daily Bible readings come from Luke/Acts for the next five weeks. Recently as I did my devotional reading I prayed that God would raise a scripture out of the text on which to focus. I follow a method of devotional reading that uses the acronym S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) which lends itself to honing in on one passage or verse. The reading for the day was Luke 8-9, and this is the scripture that captured my attention: “Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory…” (9:32, TNIV).

In this passage Jesus has taken James, John and Peter up onto a mountain to pray. While Jesus is praying he is transfigured. Luke tells us that “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (v. 29). Then Moses and Elijah appear, also in glorious splendor, and talk to Jesus about his impending Passion. This other-worldly spectacle evidently snaps the three disciples to attention. Peter makes an excited suggestion that they all stay up on the mountain permanently! Luke, like an exasperated big brother, tells us “Peter did not know what he was saying” (v. 33).

I find Luke’s description poignant (Matthew and Mark’s accounts do not mention sleepiness). A spiritual director with whom I spoke last year told me that for most of his adult life he had been spiritually “sleepwalking” (his words). Finally, through a fortuitous set of life events, he “woke up” to God. It seems to me that one of the things God wants to help us do through Jesus is to wake up. Wake up to his love for us. Wake up to his presence in our lives. Wake up to his purpose for us.

God wants us to experience the security of living in his love and consequently the adventure of living, even amidst life’s pain and pathos. Indeed, it is often in the crucible of pain that we experience the “wake up” call to God and the wonders of life. With luck, it doesn’t come too late in life.

“You fool!” God says to the man in Luke 12:18-21, who has run out of space to store his good crops, and having so little imagination, considers only how he can build bigger barns in order to relax and take life easy. “This very day your life will be demanded of you.” The man is on remote control. He is anesthetized. His senses are dead. He is shuffling through his life with no greater aim than to be able to sit on his behind and take it easy.

The early church father and apologist, Irenaeus, memorably declared that “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Alive and awake to joy and despair, gain and loss, reward and penalty, pleasure and pain, loyalty and betrayal, love and hate, satisfaction and regret. It’s all part of the tapestry of the fully awake life that God wants to walk with us through (Psalm 23).

That’s not what most biblical commentators will tell you Luke 9:23 is about, and they are right. But that’s what the scripture put on my heart for that day, and by God’s grace, for every day.

How about you, are you awake? … Hello?


Blogger Heather Hollo said...

I am writing in response to todays service: how Jesus heals.

When I was 1 1/2 years old I had a fever of 109 degrees. The doctors were amazed that I was still alive but told my parents that I would have severe brain damage. I came out with no brain damage.

Several years later I joined the USAF and was in a truck accident. I was life-flighted out of the desert and to the nearest hospital. All I suffered from was a concusion, broken arm, 4 inch deep cut on my head, 3 inch deep cut on my ribs, and a 2 inch cut on my knee. Everyone who saw the steel truck said I should have died.

A few years later I suffered from depression and abused alcohol. I started taking antidepressants. A month into the medication I went psychotic and tried to commit suicide with three bottles of medication, one of which was for blood pressure, along with lots of alcohol. I was out for over two days. I should have been dead or in a coma or atleast had liver damage but here I am today healthy as ever. I later found out that I had an allergic reaction to the antidepressants because I have manic bi-polar disorder.

I now attend church regularly and have significantly cut back on drinking.

Jesus has saved me in so many ways that to say I'm extremely grateful would be an understatement.

Thank you for letting me share with you my experiences,

Heather Hollo

10:45 AM  

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