Struggling into Wakefulness


I had a funny idea (it happens every so often): to preach a sermon series called Against the dwarfs (as a sequel to our church’s current series, Against the gods). It would be 7 sermons that take the dominant trait of each of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs – Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Happy, Grumpy, Bashful, Doc – and explore how that trait represents something amiss in our culture: our slavish dependence on the pharmaceutical-medical complex (Doc), or our chronic apathy (Sleepy), or our media-induced and substance-enhanced false cheer (Happy), or our over-consumption of over-refined foods that deprives us of natural antigens (Sneezy), or our destructive gullibility (Dopey), and so on.

       I’m only half kidding.

       The Against the gods series has given me fresh eyes to see how our culture warps or counterfeits God’s good gifts. The world, Paul says, tries to “squeeze us into its mould” (Romans 12:2; J.B. Philips version). Preaching about the gods – Mammon, Eros, Bacchus, and the like – has sharpened my discernment of that. I can see with greater clarity the many jarring misalignments between the Kingdom and the world.

       I am not by nature a finger-pointer. I don’t find demons under every stone. I don’t walk around in scornful disapproval of all I see. But I do have a growing sense that we are being half-seduced, half-bludgeoned into agreement with beliefs and practices that wither the life Jesus came to give us.

       Let’s resolve otherwise.

       A friend of mine recently drew my attention to Luke 9:32, part of the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration. J.B. Philips (again) renders it well: “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep and it was as they struggled into wakefulness that they saw the glory of Jesus.”

       It was as they struggled into wakefulness that they saw the glory of Jesus.

       That is a good measure how awake you are: how clearly you see the glory of Jesus. Does his glory – who he is and what he’s done – shine brighter and brighter in your eyes? Or are you having trouble seeing? We used to sing a hymn with this potent line, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

       If you’re finding the opposite – that the earth gets brighter as Jesus fades – then struggle into wakefulness.

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  1. Ken, Colly and EllieThe pictures bgrouht me to tears seeing Ellie in Colleen’s arms again, she is looking bright and you must be very relieved that the worst is over, but knowing you still have a way to go.Glad now that Sandra is there giving you both some support, and seeing all the replies you have lots of caring friends. Spoke to Mum and Jack just now to give them the update and they both asked me to send their love and that they are thinking of you and hope to speak to you when you get home.Take care both of you and give that little one lots of hugs and kisses she deserves them for what she has had to go through, but most of all don’t forget each other you need hugs too.Lots and lots of loveAnne, Howard and Charlotte xx