Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Missing the Movie (Luke 11:29-36)

"When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, 'This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.  For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!  The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.  Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.'"- Luke 11:29-36

Among my friends, I'm notorious for falling asleep in movies. I wasn't always this way, but in college I began to develop this bad habit. As with most college students, movie watching was a good way, late at night, to procrastinate in the name of fellowship. Most of our movie nights didn't start until God-awful hours, those times when your eyelids start to get heavy and it's easier to slip into sleep than it is to stay awake, no matter how much you want to keep watching. The darkness takes over, cool, calm, relaxing, as your eyelids rest. Most of us have been to this place where it's easier to shut out what's going on around us and give in to sleep, give in to darkness, no matter how much we want to be a part of the excitement and energy around us. Closing our eyes is our bodies' habitual, natural move when we're tired; the darkness is our resting place.

In this scripture I find myself fascinated with the connection between seeing, having your eyes open, and the light. And in other scriptures, too, we see connections between sleep and light --
"...but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 'Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you'"(Ephesians 4:13-14). I get the obvious points that these scriptures make -- remain alert, open your eyes to what Christ is doing, stay on guard, what is easy to see is also easy to ignore. In other words, don't allow yourself to miss what's right in front of you -- Christ; don't allow yourself to close your eyes and drift into darkness, into sleep. You might miss the movie!

I get all of these points, and they're all good ones. Wholeheartedly, I believe this is the point Christ (and Paul) is trying to make -- it's easier to close your eyes, to live in darkness, to fall asleep than it is to open your eyes and see, to be a beacon of light (lampstand) for others, to wake up. Jesus' way is the way of faith, of light, of trust -- it's more difficult than giving in to darkness and sleep, especially when we're tired already, when our lives are heavy and we're ready to shut out everything. THIS, I believe is what Christ is calling us to do.

And yet, I'm not fully satisfied with that. I have to believe there is a time for rest. There is a time for sleep. There is a time for darkness. After all, God made day and night. Is it even possibly to be able to recognize light without darkness? Is there a time for darkness -- "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"(Ecclesiastes 1:1)? It is abundantly clear in scripture that God is in the light, that we open our eyes to see God, but is God not in the darkness too? Is God not there when we close our eyes, when we just can't seem to keep our heavy eyelids open? Does Christ not move in the cool, calm of the night as in the warm, excitement of the day? 

Clearly, I'm no Sherlock Holmes, probably not even Watson. Yet another mystery unsolved by yours truly. I'm still struggling. I hope you will join me, maybe even enlighten me. Until then, peaceful rest and joyful waking!

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