Keep Me Awake

Keep Me Awake

Luke 9:28-36

Well, here is a little prayer to tag onto the end of the Our Father as you get to the end and you say Amen call out to heaven and say,

Lord keep me always awake to you.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

So as our Lenten journey continues and we hear our gospel each Sunday, we continue to hear about these great moments in Jesus life. This what you might call these hinge moments, these moments upon which Jesus life hang and move. What’s just happened in Luke’s gospel just a few verses ago is that he’s asked the disciples who they think he is. And Peter has answered, he got the answer right. The disciples are finally starting to understand who precisely Jesus is now knowing the road that he is on, knowing the path that lies before him as he travels to Jerusalem, knowing that his disciples finally understand who he is.

After three years on the road with him, he now goes to his father. He climbs the mountain and he meets with Moses and Elijah. Moses representing the Law, Elijah, the prophets, Guardians of the earthly faith of the Israelites. And they have a conversation about what lies ahead, about what Jesus will ultimately experience on that cross.

Jesus speaks with Moses, he speaks with Elijah and he speaks with God. Lord, is this still what you want me to do? Is this the path that you have laid out before me? And so a voice is heard coming from the clouds. This is my son, my beloved Affirmation.

This is the right path. This must happen. There is no getting away from it. This is what must now happen. And so, once again, once again in the gospel, we see Jesus submitting to his father, not deciding to go off on his own, but submitting to God his father.

And so I say again this week, if Jesus submits to God his father, then we have no excuse. When we face those hinge moments in our life, when we face big decisions, we must do as Jesus did, we must travel to the mountain, come to Church. We must consult with the Law, with scripture, and with the prophets, our teachers and pastors. And ultimately, we must ask God, Is this the path that you have put me on? Regardless of how difficult it is, I don’t say that the clouds are going to open at that point, and God is going to reveal his answer to you in a booming voice. You’d probably have a heart attack if he did. But listen, listen to what God is saying. Ensure that you are on the right path.

So knowing this, he walks on. And Jesus continues to offer us a model of what some people would call an examined life.

Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Jesus offers us a model of an examined life. And that’s what Lent is about. It’s about examining our lives. And we’ve had this right the way through our preparation for Lent and now into our second Sunday.

And so we are given in this gospel some warnings and some examples of how to live an examined life. It’s opened up in that second part. They were heavy with sleep, but they stayed awake. Lent helps us to understand how we stay awake, and it also warns us about those things that make us heavy with sleep. Not physical sleep, but sleep of the mind sleep of our attitude to everyday life.

I’m sure that in this second week of Lent, some of us have already let our promises waver a little. I have. I’ve fallen down this week. I said that I was going to do some things for Lent, and this week when I was in Rome, a couple of those things fell by the wayside. And so now I pick myself up here and make my confession with you, my brothers and sisters.

And I set myself on the right path again, because once again, I was being drawn into sleep. We have to ensure that we keep awake in our praying, in our fasting, in our giving.

But this gospel is not just a warning, but it tells us what happens if we manage to stay awake.

It’s very hard in sermons, I know, but it’s worth it. Lent. The whole season of Lent teaches us how to stay awake because when our minds are asleep, we can miss so much. We must examine what keeps our minds asleep and awake for Jesus.

What are the things that cause our minds to be asleep?

Prejudice. We have ideas that are so set that we cannot see the glory of the work of the Holy Spirit around us. We dismiss it instantly. Prejudice keeps our minds asleep and blinds to the work of God around us.

Lethargy – I don’t really care, actually, you know what? Thinking about a new thing or thinking about an old thing that is difficult is hard. Coming to Church for the Lent course on Thursday after mass or joining online on Thursday evenings is hard. It requires you to physically get up and come somewhere. It requires you to sit and to think and to be open and to examine your face.

But lethargy drains the energy so that you simply can’t be bothered. Lethargy is the pull of the enemy, and we must push back against it.

The final thing that keeps us asleep. This is a beautiful phrase, love of ease. My father would be slightly less diplomatic, and he would call it Laziness – love of ease.

We all like to sit quietly, doing the things that we know how to do, that we don’t have to think about.

If we don’t get out there, if we don’t physically or mentally engage with the world around us, then we are being lazy in the work that God has put before us. When I hear confession, one of the confessions I hear least, but I often think I need to hear most is that of Laziness and Lethargy.

But fortunately, Lent offers us a chance to combat these things because we are or should be as eager as Peter to engage with Jesus on that mountain top. Open your eyes, open your mind and your heart, and you will see the gifts that God gives us that we only see when we are awake.

Lent gives us some ways of waking up, and this is going to sound odd, but one of the ways we are woken up in Lent is through sorrow, the sorrow of the cross, of losing Jesus on Good Friday, the sorrow and lament of knowing what stands before him.

And when you think about it, you can recognize it, because I suspect all of us have faced the loss of a loved one at some point. And in that grief and in that sorrow, you are plucked out of the everyday world and you get to see it anew. And so in Lent, walk with Jesus as he walks to the cross, in that sorrow, in that pain, and find a new perspective, a new way of relating with and spending time with Jesus.

The second tool we are given during Lent to stay awake is that of love. We talked about love a few weeks ago, didn’t we?

The three kinds of love love Eros, sexual desire, love between a man and a wife, the love that exists between brothers, and the love that exists in community. But love is hard and love is difficult and love hurts, and so we often shut ourselves off to it. And so during Lent, I ask you to open your hearts to love in whichever way that plays out for you. I found my calling from God finally, because of the love I experienced for Edmund when I held him in my arms when he was born. It was that love that broke open my heart to the work of God in my life.

Love opens doors in our lives that we didn’t even know were they. They keep us awake to the work of God in the world around us.

And finally, the thing that Lent gives us to stay awake is a sense of need. That’s what the giving part of Lent is about. It’s about identifying those problems that seem utterly insurmountable and impossible. And instead of just disregarding them, engaging with them, we can take the war in Ukraine as an example. No single one of us can attempt to even engage with what is going on.

What can we do to bring peace? But every single one of us can pray to God and do the small thing that is in front of us. Even if this is difficult, even if you don’t think it’s going to achieve anything, it could be give to the DEC so that there is money getting into Ukraine to support those most in need. It could be tomorrow signing up with a home office to take a Ukrainian refugee into your home.

It could be committing to praying for the people of Ukraine every single day when you wake up and you do each one of those small things in this huge thing that you cannot fix on your own and you are kept awake by a desire to do God’s work in the world.

We have to be awake to the work of God in the world around us to set aside the sin of laziness, the sin of lethargy, the sin of not caring. And we have to get up off our very comfortable rear ends and do something, find a new perspective, be awake to what God is calling you to do this week and so I give you a prayer.

You know that I encourage you to pray every day when you wake up in the morning, when your feet touch the ground, when you wake up, what do I ask you to do?

Pray the our Father when you go to bed at night and your little feet come off the floor and you go into bed, what do I ask you to do? Pray the our Father.

Well, here is a little prayer to tag onto the end of the Our Father as you get to the end and you say Amen call out to heaven and say,

Lord keep me always awake to you.