AdventWord: Watch

AdventWord: Watch

December 3, 2018

“Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”

It is way too easy to fall asleep spiritually. When you are spiritually asleep, you might still pray, but it can feel like you are just going through the motions. It happens to everyone, but I think it is important to be reminded that God never wants us to be passive in our faith or our community. In the Philippines, I have had the opportunity to work with a community development program that does a great job of empowering its partners.

Advent Word WatchI have been amazed by the ability of even the poorest communities to help themselves when given the opportunity. Recently, there was a conference in the Philippines where heads of other Anglican development programs came to learn how these methods could be adapted for their own work. During this conference, I had many conversations that I will never forget, but I find myself remembering one I had with Rachel Kereopa. She told me a story about how she, along with her husband (the head of an Anglican development program in New Zealand), started a school. I loved how she told her story, because she did not take credit for any of it. Rachel would simply say that the school was all part of God’s plan and that she was lucky to be a part of it. To hear her talk about “God’s Plan” in this way opened my eyes, because when she said that she was just living out God’s will, I truly believe that she meant it. This served as a good reminder that God is always at work in the world around us and is constantly inviting us to join him.

[Are you interested in joining God’s mission in the world with the Young Adult Service Corps? Learn more here.]

I think being aware of God around us is what we ask for when we pray “That awake we may watch with Christ.” This prayer is found at the end of compline and has always been my favorite prayer from any liturgy. When I read this prayer, it brings powerful memories of nights where it created the perfect ending. But when I really think about it, the word watch stands out. The original Hebrew word for watch also translates to “give strict attention to,” or to be “spiritually awake.”

We have to pay strict attention to how we are living our lives, and whether we are watching with Christ in everything we do. I think what that means will be different for everyone. For me, it means focusing on sharing all the love that is around me, and in doing so, hopefully keeping myself open to what God is saying. The Advent season is the perfect time to meditate on how we are watching and waiting for Christ. Throughout these next few weeks, what can you do to make sure that you are intentionally watching with Christ?

“Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”

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