It was just over a year ago. The shot opened on a barren desert landscape and a deep sinister voice comes over the scene, “There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?” And with that millions of Star Wars fans (present company included) became enraptured with excitement as we got our first look at what would be the new Star Wars Film from J.J. Abrams, The Force Awakens. And now today/tomorrow many of us will flock to theaters around the world to live out our full nerdery as we get to follow one of the greatest story lines of all time displayed in cinematic fashion. It really is quite a marvel to see how much hype, hysteria and excitement has been brought on by all of this. I don’t think its any accident that the writers chose the title, The Force Awakens.
Of course anytime there is something fun or exciting that I am a part of in life, I can’t help but somehow relate it back to the church. After all, that is my life. And here we are, in the season of Advent, and for many of us nerds today the waiting is over. The anticipation will be met with joyous rapture or more mediocre reflection, depending on our opinions of the movie. But for many of us who bear the name of Christ, the waiting continues. Yes we have moments of celebration like Christmas and Easter and Pentecost, but Advent is the season which should characterize our lives. A season of waiting for Christ’ return. A season of waiting for God to redeem all of creation. A season of expectant hope.
So the question before us today, what do we do in the waiting? Some people tend to think that waiting is an excuse to simply exist…maybe even do nothing. But in his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul takes quite a different approach, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord...This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:8, 14-16a) This is how we are called to live in the meantime; in the waiting…fully awake, making the most of every opportunity and walking in the light.
Tonight for many people will be the end of that anticipation they have had from the first time they heard that voice in the Star Wars trailer say, “There’s been an awakening…”. And then at some point, regardless of their opinion of the film, there will be a let down. At some point all of the geeks (present company included) will find something else to be geeked about. But for those of us who follow the risen Christ, the anticipation continues to build. We continue to awaken to the calling of Christ knowing that the fulfillment will make the anticipation all the sweeter and the joy found in the full presence of God will never end. This is why I say to you today, “Awake O Sleeper”.