We are all creatures of habit, so invariably we get locked into patterns and routines that make up the sub-structure of the story we choose to believe about ourselves and the world we live in. A narrative we’ve presupposed to be true, and therefore assume on some fundamentally meaningful level that our existence will find purpose and significance. But every once in a while you will experience an epiphany that so alters your understanding of one thing that it inextricably alters the way you understand everything else.
And within such a paradigm shift you begin to reimagine your own narrative about the world and your place in it – as if awakening from a long slumber, you start to adjust to your new interpretation of reality. But for me, this inescapably leads to an obvious question – How do you know you’ve actually awakened . . . and haven’t merely imagined you’ve awakened from a dream, within a dream? Because without a thoughtful examination of our presuppositions and their philosophical underpinnings, we inevitably end up circling back to the same baseline . . . returning to the same assumptions.
This all occurs to me as I ponder the social phenomenon of “woke culture” – those claiming to have awakened from their complacency with a moral clarity about what the rest of us need to be doing. So their mission, as they see it, is to awaken the rest of us to their moral concerns – whether we like it or not. It isn’t so much an invitation to share their vision, as it is the bullying coercion of imposed will . . . as their rhetoric decidedly carries with it an implied “or else”. Again, this leads me to ask: By whose authority, and by what standard of morality, are they making their case? Because if I’m truly to awaken from my complacent sleep, I’ll want to know that this isn’t merely a different dream (or nightmare) – moving me from the frying pan into the fire.
It’s not that I’m reluctant to confess my propensity for slumber – in fact, it is an essential component of my faith confession that I’m prone to falling into a forgetful complacency in regards to the life God calls me to live . . . a life of self-emptying love and redemptive sacrifice. For this is the moral imperative of the Christian faith – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. But from what I can tell, the Woke movement seeks to serve a very different agenda – one with a particular political ambition.
So here I am, making my way through the season of Lent to the Passion of Christ – where I find myself in the Garden of Gethsemane, only to realize that my eyes have grown heavy with sleep . . . again. So I cry out “Awaken me, O Lord, so that I might be with you awhile longer” Yes, I fell asleep at Gethsemane, along with the disciples of Christ – but I have been awakened by the power of the Resurrection . . . awakened to live a life devoted to the way of Christ . . . an awakening born of forgiveness, and not condemnation. So yea — I’m woke, won’t you join me?
From my Chiaroscuro collection . . .
I Fell Asleep
I fell asleep at Gethsemane and I dreamed about my life
Poured out in empty portions again and again
Into an idol sea of amusement.
In this garden I am dreaming of my heroic better self
Overcoming the fatal flaw of self-deception
That I might rise above every calculation of fear.
In a curl beneath an olive tree at a safe distance from the night watch
I lay imagining the details of my life arranging themselves
Into proportionally meaningful shapes.
With my head on this stone I begin to remember out of my slumber
The deep sorrow that brought me here
The passion of God and all the tears He has cried since creation.
I fell asleep at Gethsemane
Awaken me Lord
That I might be with you a while