Monday, November 21, 2005
Awaken, Sleepy Man!
13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you."
Is it the Sandman or one of his cohorts who has put so many to sleep within the institutional church? Not asleep towards religious activities, but asleep towards the Lord - alive in their spirit, but fast asleep in their soul.
John Eldridge in “The Sacred Romance” writes (and this quote is like smelling salts right up the nostrils):
”We tell ourselves that this small, passionate voice is an intruder who has gained entry because we have not been diligent enough in practising our religion. Our pastor seems to agree with this assessment and exhorts us from the pulpit to be more faithful. We try to silence the voice with outward activity, redoubling our efforts at Christian service. We join a small group and read a book on establishing a more effective prayer life. We train to be part of a church evangelism team. We tell ourselves that the malaise of spirit we feel even as we step up our religious activity is a sign of spiritual immaturity and we scold our heart for its lack of fervor.
Sometimes later, the voice in our heart dares to speak to us again, more insistently this time. Listen to me—there is something missing in all this. You long to be in a love affair, an adventure. You were made for something more. You know it.When the young prophet Samuel heard the voice of God calling to him in the night, he had the counsel from his priestly mentor, Eli, to tell him how to respond. Even so, it took them three times to realize it was God calling. Rather than ignoring the voice, or rebuking it, Samuel finally listened.In our modern, pragmatic world we often have no such mentor, so we do not understand it is God speaking to us in our heart. Having so long been out of touch with our deepest longing, we fail to recognize the voice and the One who is calling to us through it. Frustrated by our heart’s continuing sabotage of a dutiful Christian life, some of us silence the voice by locking our heart away in the attic, feeding it only bread and water of duty and obligation until it is almost dead, the voice now small and weak. But sometimes in the night, when our defences are down, we still hear it call to us, oh so faintly—a distant whisper. Come morning, the new day’s activities scream for our attention, the sound of the cry is gone, and we congratulate ourselves on finally overcoming the flesh.”
”For what shall we do when we wake one day to find we have lost touch with our heart and with it the very refuge where God’s presence resides.”
”This longing is the most powerful part of any personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive. However we may describe this deep desire, it is the most important thing about us, our heart of hearts, the passion of our life. And that voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God.
We cannot hear this voice if we have lost touch with our heart.”
To be continued…