What are we doing here anyway? Jesus said to those asleep in the garden, “Wake up!” What if all we are doing is sleep walking? What does it mean to be awake? Perhaps what it means is learning to hear what is really happening in the world around us; actually listening to the cries of the people around us. Is not that what we are called to do in being present and hearing from our brothers and sisters?
What are we doing here as Christians? If we actually woke up, wouldn’t we start making a priority good listening? Wouldn’t we make a priority first and foremost the people that are in front of us today? Too often we as Christians focus on tomorrow (or even after death), or we are too worried about our own problems, sins, situations, complexities, worries, needs, and wants to actually hear those who we bump into on an everyday basis. What if we actually woke up and listened? What are their cries? How can we hear them? How can we join them in those cries? How can we offer hope?
What are we doing here as Pastors? If we actually woke up, wouldn’t we make it a priority to really listen and see our community? Wouldn’t we spend an enormous amount of time just getting to know the people in our neighborhood, hearing their concerns, troubles, and cries? Too often as pastors we let the tyranny of busyness become our master. We allow the “needs” of the people who claim us to become like the demands of God. Perhaps we once asked the questions of our communities. Perhaps we once listened well. But are we creating cultures of listening? Are we creating space for disciples to grow up with us alongside?
What are we doing here as Fathers? If we actually woke up, wouldn’t we make it a point to have “those conversations” with our children about all the hard things in life? Wouldn’t we want to tell them and show them our love and the love of the Father? Wouldn’t we want to own up to our own woundedness and the times we have wounded our children? If we had the courage to turn off the television, to look our children in the eye and to tell the stories of our own struggles, victories, defeats and doubts would not our children then give us our hearts desire and share with us their struggles, victories, defeats and doubts? If we woke up, then we might hear the cries of our children’s hearts.
What are we doing here as Professors? If we actually woke up, wouldn’t we see it as our job to help our students wake up too? Is not the ultimate cry of the heart of the student? To wake up. To be given different lenses to look through that they may better see the world we live in. To be given better language in order to better listen and speak into a world of broken cries. If we were awake would we not see first and foremost our students as priority and not our career, our future, our committee? If we were really awake then the most important things would move well beyond the academic and enter into the transformative movement of life on life.
What are we doing here as Students? If we actually woke up, wouldn’t we see it as our job to learn to listen and to see? To be able to identify the cries of the people around us? The loud screams and the soft whimpers? Wouldn’t we welcome gladly the soft proddings and questions of our professors? Wouldn’t we attempt to do our best and confess where we are weak? Wouldn’t we see professors as more than just vessels of knowledge, but also as people whose stories we must learn?
Obviously these are some of my life areas and this is me preaching to me. But I share this because it might perhaps help you too. I know I need to wake up.
Today I learned that a recent graduate had died. We can’t help but wonder, “what if?” and “buy why?” in times like this. But I often wonder what it is we are doing here in the first place…