Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beautiful Awakening

Last week I was talking with a used car salesman, not about cars rather about the state of this thing called the church in our world. Part of or conversation took us to talking about the passages in the Bible which all the people of God to wake up. Isaiah 50 to 52, Romans, Ephesians and Revelation 3. We then thought about the different ways of waking up. There is the harsh sound of the alarm clock. Not to be outdone by the wonderful screaming of a parent up the stairs or down the hall. Also included are the demanding tones of an angry parent waking their teen child. As the two of us thought about all the various ways we had been awakened none were as wonderfully remembered as the beautiful awakenings. The sweet voice calling to us, coupled with the gentle touch, or even a kiss. Being awakened in that fashion has greater appeal in my life.

Classically when I have read the Scriptures calling the people of God to wake up I have heard them as an angry demanding God. What if that is not at all the emotion of God? What if God is whispering in our ear with a sweet voice? What if God is taking our hand and gently enticing us to see what the morning is bringing? Make no mistake it is time for the church of God to wake up from its slumber and greet the day the Lord has given them. The questions remains if it will be a harsh and jarring awakening, or if it will be a beautiful awakening?

What would the beautiful awakening look like? Would it resemble the street corner preacher yelling at everyone to repent or go to hell, or would it be the work of the faithful as they provide food and clothing to those who are hungry and naked? Would it be the pastor showing the vengeful God, or offering the God of hope who longs to see us embrace all of creation? The beautiful awakening does not require a media campaign. No billboard space is needed. Leave the tracts in the box. There is not even a need for a building for the church. Simply put, the beautiful awakening is a group of anybodies who decide to follow God more than anything else.

When we know the day ahead holds promise and excitement, no alarm clock is needed. We simply rise and greet the day with great anticipation of what is coming. Often we live lives in a consistent defeat. The wages of the world weigh us down and we do not expect God to show up in the day ahead, only more of what we experienced the day before. Day after day we diminish our expectation of what God can do with us in that day. The beautiful awakening stirs our souls about the possibility of what God is going to do with that day. The beautiful awakening draws us from our slumber hearing the sweet voice of God telling us about all the amazing things the day will hold.

A beautiful awakening can quickly be sidetracked by focusing on the obstacles. Isaiah 51 reminds the people of God to focus not on the power of humanity, rather focus on the God who is about the possible. We must work to preserve our beautiful awakening or risk having the beauty and joy of this day taken from us.

The call of God to awaken could be a demand to get our butts out of bed and get about the work which is set aside for us. It could also be the sweet voice of God calling to us to arise and see the possibility of what God is going to do with the day. The time of slumber is over, the church must awaken, may it be a beautiful awakening.