Awake My Soul – Preparing to Preach on the First Sunday of Advent

awakeThe Gospel reading for this coming Sunday concludes with these words attributed to Jesus by the storyteller know to us as Mark:  “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep Awake!” In the stories which have been handed down to us, Jesus is often heard warning, encouraging, sometimes begging us to wake up or to stay awake. So as I prepare for the Advent Season, this tune from Mumford and Sons keeps running through my mind. EMBODIED WAKEFULNESS is emerging as a theme for a season which often has our heads swimming in the clouds. 

Sunday’s reading from the gospel according to Mark:

Jesus said: “In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son-of-Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then the Human One will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like someone going on a journey, who leaving home and putting the slaves in charge of their own work, commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do know when the lord of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at crockcrow, or at dawn, or else, coming suddenly, the lord may find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake. (Mark 13:24-37)

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