Bob Dylan’s memorable “Blowin’ in the Wind” sang about looking and not seeing, having ears and hot hearing. Time was when pre-historic humans scuttled around on all fours, before they learned to stand upright on two feet and look into the distance.
A story from the East tells of an old Abbot who came down from the mountain after many years of communion with God. A monk asks, “Abba, what has God’s wisdom taught you? Did you become divine?” “No, not at all.” “Did you become a saint?” “No, as you can clearly see.” “What then, O Abba?” “I became awake!” he said.
During this time of year we hear Jesus in the gospels warning people to be vigilant and stay awake. It sounds like a call to be on high alert when a major storm is about to break and wreak havoc with all who lie in its projected path.
The apostles slept in the garden of Gethsemani as the greatest hurricane was about to break. CS Lewis once said that “God is always speaking to us but normally we aren’t aware, aren’t listening.” I think it’s the way the creator made us. We’re creatures of distraction.
Small wonder, then, that we need an annual wake-up call which comes this time every year. The call to be vigilant is often accompanied by a cautionary word about the end being nigh. He is telling us not to let daily cares and chores rob us of tuning into the reality of God’s presence and love.
Christians have been around for two thousand years or so. How long more will our world last? As long as it takes. As long as it takes for the love behind the reality and purpose of Christ’s life, death and resurrection to sink in – cf. John 3:16.
That’s reality. And was it TS Eliot who said humankind is not able for much reality? We can only absorb the love that was released on the world by Jesus Christ slowly. Very slowly. Easy does it, as they say.