Staying awake to God

I am relatively new to the Bible, so it is easy to catch my attention with a good bit of scripture that I've never heard before. You can almost see my ears perk up and my tail start wagging. "Ooh, something smells good over there..."

So it was with the first article in the newest Friends Journal that arrived today at my house. The author spoke about his first experiences of Quaker worship, coming to Friends, and the questions he had. Then he recounted the story of Jesus on the eve of his crucifiction, going into the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives and taking leave of his disciples as he goes off to pray alone.

Each of the Gospels that includes this story, and different translations of the Gospels, use slightly different words to describe the instructions he gave to them before he went off by himself to pray. In the King James Version, Matthew and Mark use the phrase, "tarry ye here and watch." In Luke the phrase is "wait here and pray." Other versions use the phrase "remain here and stay awake." (Gallery, FJ June '06)

At that point, I started giggling.

10 AM is not my favorite time of day, especially not when First Day (the nerve of it!), immediately follows Seventh Day evening. On occasion, my eyelids have been known to droop-- entirely of their own accord, I tell you!-- in meeting for worship. I know from personal experience that sometimes, "stay awake" is an entirely accurate translation of, "wait here and pray."

I started thinking of all the times in my life when Jesus might well have commanded me to "stay awake." Watching a movie, riding a bus, taking notes in class- how often do I forget that God is there? How often do I fail to keep my eyes and heart open for God, letting my spirituality doze off as if the secular world was a bottle of Nyquil?

It has been a long, hard, emotionally draining week. I've been dragging myself along, losing context, losing focus, and drifting away from my center. I have fallen asleep. There is Christ in the garden, there he kneels, asking only my vigilance, my conciousness, and like Peter, I doze.

It is a human thing, to err, to fall asleep. But we have Christ within us, and are therefore not merely human; we have the capacity to be, also, divine.

When we honor that, we can stay awake to God.

We can see every moment as we walk through the world the beauty that has been created for us.

We can keep tender mercies always ready for anyone in need.

We can keep God always at the center of our hearts and minds, awake and aware, ready to hear the still small voice when it whispers.


Blogger Liz Opp said...

You write: How often do I fail to keep my eyes and heart open for God, letting my spirituality doze off as if the secular world was a bottle of Nyquil?

EX-cellent analogy, Kody, just perfect.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

5:25 PM  
Blogger RuthNaomiEsther said...

Kody, you bitch, you made me join another bloggy thing. Why couldn't you just stay in one place like a normal being? Why'd you have to go all transient? But I swear I'm really never using this one except to comment on yours. My comment is:

I have often had this thought, ever since I read that humans could be perfect if we really became wholely attuned to God all the time. I got pretty good at the keeping God in mind and being aware of her presence. And then I had my issues and it started to feel vaguely invasive and wierd...but that's me being fucked up. In theory, I agree, except that it feels awkward for me right now. I'm actually really jealous of you in this regard. It was such a good feeling, and now things aren't, and I don't understand what's wrong...

10:38 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

This is really beautiful, and what you are talking about is fidelity, fidelity to that still small voice that continually will speak to us, and through us, if only we are quiet enough to listen.
Thank you.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Canine Diamond said...

My dad once said that if he dozed off in Meeting, the hand of the Almighty would reach out and give him a push (he meant my mother, though).

8:51 AM  
Blogger RuthNaomiEsther said...

hurry up with pennington and spiritual smack-down. you wouldn't let me finish reading it.

I love you.
take care of yourself.

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