When something very difficult and unexpected happens, we throw up our hands in desperation and ask, “What am I going to do now?” As people of faith, there is a way to live before, during and after the “what am I going to do now” question is asked. That is to live our lives vigilantly, taking care to nourish the life of faith that we have every day. In short, to be ready.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us to live our lives with a light fastened around our waists at all times ready to venture out into the darkness. He tells us to be like the good servant who is always ready for the master to return (Luke 12:32-48). In other words, do not wait until something terrible happens before calling upon our faith to help us. We are to care for and nourish our faith every day. Sometimes we can get so busy, angry, worried or sick that we do not think to acknowledge the presence of God in the midst of whatever situation we are in.
Living vigilantly means that the light we have fastened around our waists at all times is the light of daily, regular prayer. Praying is not just for Sundays or for when the disaster happens. We do not know when we are going to be forced to venture into the darkness of grief, doubt, betrayal, injury or illness. We face it better if that light of prayer is always shining in our lives.
Vigilant living means that we do not wait until we or somebody else is desperate before we give our love or accept it from others. Kind words, holding hands and giving hugs best occur as a regular part of our lives instead of being saved as a last resort remedy in the face of hardship. Vigilance means that we are constantly paying attention to what is going on in our lives, the lives of others and the world. We do better to not wait until an emergency, crisis or terrorist attack gets our attention. Noticing the details of the moment is the best preparation for the next big league challenge that may be around the corner.
Vigilance means that we open our hearts to God and others in the ordinary times before something extraordinary demands us to. What we do now depends on what we do every day to get ready.
Together in faith,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector