"WAKE UP, SLEEPER, RISE FROM THE DEAD, AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU"
Photo: Wells Cathedral. Wellcome Collection
I had toothache on the night before last – which kept me awake. I was in a conference centre and during the night started to work out if I should drive to a service station for paracetamol. I was nervous that the electronic key wouldn’t let me back in at 3.00am so I then hatched a plan to exit and re-enter through the window. In the end I fell asleep but into weird dreams. I was in a disused theatre and near the stage I found myself at the border between Israel and Palestine with lots of armed police being transported in trucks. Like any good story written by children, I then woke up. Weird.BUY THIS IS THAT
It is very weird when there are all kinds of aspects of life – physical, mental, emotional – that are bumping up against one another, or pulling in different directions. Sometimes we find ourselves in seasons where we suddenly have all kinds of pressures and responsibilities. Or we have varying directions to go in with our time and energy. Being fractured, or stretched apart, or jumbled up, seems to be a common aspect of modern life. There are so many pieces of information that we process – disasters and disappointments, stories and TV series, news items, tweets and Facebook posts – and then our own interior lives – dreamed or real.
I am aware that part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to integrate us, to bring us back together, to make us whole. Psalm 17 describes opposition as like hungry lions that are eager to tear us apart. The Psalm ends with a waking up from this confusion – like my dreams – and the peace and satisfaction of seeing God face to face.
Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37, ends with the breath and prophetic word of the Spirit having brought these scattered bones back to life as living, breathing people – a coordinated army, rather than a rubble bag of dead people.
The Passion version of the Bible sets Philippians 4 like this: Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.
It is my prayer that we can find the different aspects of our being fit together once again. When we open our eyes to see God face to face, then we are no longer torn apart and fragmented. The gift of prophecy helps us to make sense of things that appear unrelated and confusing in our lives. Our faith in Jesus, and the word of God given to us to help live out this faith, is for our everyday lives, our emotional and physical health, our identity and maturity as human beings.
Last night I had some pills. I had booked the dentist. The window was closed and the door was locked, and I had not watched international news, or thought about Shakespeare. My toothache and strange dreams may speak to me about the various aspects of life that compete for my attention and care, but the Bible speaks to me about how to resolve these competing strands and harmonise my thoughts, feelings, and the call of God on my life.
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Philippians 4:6