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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, December 5, 2014

WATCH

Last week I reflected on waiting. This week I take my clue from Mark
13:37 “What I say to you I say to all: ‘watch’”. To watch is work. If
one is on watch, they must be attentive both in sight and in hearing.
Their whole body has to be in attention.

The watchman takes the burden to give others the rest. But woe to
everyone under the protection of the watchman if he drifts off into
dreamland or takes his eyes off the horizon to read a book. Watching
is indeed work. To watch is a serious responsibility, even when one
gets lured into boredom and fatigue.

Watchmen are tuned to danger but gives to those under their care a
sense of security. We think of keeping watch in the context of fear,
war, or danger. What then does it mean to “watch for the Lord”? Are we
to “fear” God as we commonly understand fear? Biblical scholars prefer
to translate this fear as awe – to be in awe of God. Might we watch in
such a way that we can be in awe of God?

Let us not watch for God as something terrible or cataclysmic, but
stand in watch of a God who might “wow” us. How open am I to being
surprised by God? Our daily lives are by nature routine, even humdrum
for some. This routine can lull us into sleep, into slumber which can
dull our senses to God.

Take the rising and setting of the sun. Consider the weather. If
you’ve ever had or been with someone who has had a heart attack, or
someone who more dramatically been deaf or blind and now able to hear
or see by the miracle of science, you know the weather is no ordinary
thing.

I’ve been “awakened” by such people. They have allowed me to see how
changeable, how awesome each day is. It was a blind lady who taught me
as a child to first see more completely. In walking with her around
the block she revealed to me the drop of rain on a leaf. Though she
was blind she could be in awe of the smallest things.

There have been nursing home patients who have taught me to really
watch, to be surprised. Many of us see a rare cloudy day only as a
change from a long string of sunny days or a break from repressive
heat. On such a day I have met those in nursing homes whose faces
light up like the sun breaking through the darkest clouds. These
special watchmen often display great enthusiasm for the day, for the
gift of clouds, for just being alive, or for being able to watch the
ever changing clouds.

There are plenty of people who look out the window or keep the blinds
closed for one reason or another and see no joy in the day. Blinded by
indifference, pain, or boredom. They can drain us quickly of any
energy. Others who like a helium tank fill me up with joy and even
wonder by their watchfulness.

There are countless ways to be “wowed” by God, by life: a kitten
playing with the ray of light, a giggling baby, a colorful sunset,
children at play, or old friends sitting in loving silence. The
command we are given is not to inspire fear, but wonder. It is not to
embrace danger, but to grasp joy or even love.

Watch therefore, and be amazed.

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