And the King will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it unto me.”
Matthew 25: 40
As I read Jesus’ parable about separating people on the last day, I wondered how it would be for me to be so aware of Jesus’ presence that I would know Him even in my sleep, and I am not just speaking of the sleep we do when we go to bed. Sleep is a time when we are not cognitively aware of anything. When we are fully awake we are aware of things that are going on around us. We often do spiritual napping during our waking hours with our eyes wide open. During the rhythm of our daily lives, we are often distracted from seeing Christ as we tend to our own agendas, or we do something in which we are intently interested.
That wondering caused me to also wonder about what it would be like to live totally present to the presence of Jesus who is with us at all times. That awareness can draw us beyond our daily concerns of things like loading the dishwasher, or washing and drying dishes, or deciding what we should wear, or how we can get everything accomplished that we have on our agenda. Awareness of Christ encourages us to be open to tending to God’s children, which may interrupt our plans or alter our own agendas.
I don’t know about you, but when I start working on something I don’t like interruptions. Just recently I was sorting dirty clothes and loading them into the washer and thinking about what else I had to do that day when the doorbell rang. I didn’t answer the door thinking that it was probably someone who was selling something. Later I learned that it was my neighbor who needed me to help her take her husband to the emergency room. I missed an opportunity to help her and I regretted it, and even though I apologized, I feel really sad that I ignored the door bell that day.
I have grown accustomed to ignoring my phone because of all kinds of schemes. I missed a call from someone recently who was seeking a spiritual director. Because I did not recognize the phone number, I ignored it and missed an opportunity be lend my ear, and let the Holy Spirit use me in conversation, and prayer with that person. When we miss these moments we are asleep to opportunities of grace, asleep to moments of inspiration and blessing. Regardless of our excuses, we often ignore opportunities in ways that Jesus can come into our lives. Jesus reminds us that often Christ wants to come to us through others. He will not leave us alone, but we have to be awake to the possibilities of His presence. It behooves us to be blessed a thousand times over by staying awake to Jesus’ presence in all the opportunities He offers us every moment of our lives.
Can you think of a time in your activities of yesterday or the day before when you may have slept through the blessing of his presence?
How can you stay awake to the hope, and the love of God, who lives with you every moment?
How would it be to live so aware of Jesus’ presence that we begin to recognize Him in the many encounters with people we make each day?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.