Wednesday, December 4
Written by Kim Williams
First Congregational Church of Fresno
“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 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.”
What does keeping awake mean in an age of 5-Hour-Energy shots? How can we stomach staying alert and filled with anticipation when we’re not given a tracking number, nor can we watch the progress of the coming of our God on an app on our phones—Oh Good! Just 4 stops away!
The work of alertness has been conquered, commodified, by our packed schedules, tight deadlines, and quad shot espressos. The earnest discomfort in sitting with what feels like a perpetual wait is difficult for us to access because it is, well, uncomfortable. To think about always being on because God might be around the corner, showing up without so much as a courtesy text so I can vacuum up the pet hair from my sofa, is a disruption to the semi-carefully curated “I’ve totally got my stuff together” lifestyle I depict. But that’s the point.
Staying alert is a practice that takes practice, and keeping our hopes up when it feels like we’re waiting in perpetuity is counter-intuitive. It is our task to live our lives in the most loving way we are able, and to stay vigilant. Because this wait is worth it, even if there’s no app to tell us how much longer.