Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Awake, thou that sleepest

Ephesians 5:1  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2  and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.......... 
8  For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light-- 9  for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10  Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12  For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13  but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14  for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15  Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16  making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17  So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18  Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19  as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20  giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On Sunday 4 April 1742 John Wesley preached to the students of Christ Church, Oxford. His text was Ephesians 5:14: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."  He preached a three point sermon, beginning with those who are asleep, calling on them to wake up, and promising that Jesus would give them light.

Wesley, preaching to a chapel filled with Church of England members, invited them to want more than just their Church baptism: Seek more, seek the Holy Spirit within you. True religion, he says, is to have the life of Christ living within you. This will lead to holiness, and happiness, and peace. If we do not have these then we fall short of true Christianity.   

So here is an invitation for us to be driven by a life of passionate faith – a life that is awake to songs, thanksgiving, and light.

Ordinary 31 / Pentecost +24
53 God Can Change Lives
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 323.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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