Romans 13:11-14

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  Romans 13:11-14

 

“Could you not stay awake for just one hour?”  We remember those words from Jesus to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus in one corner of the garden – tormented, terrified – and for good reason.  The disciples, soundly asleep, blissfully unaware of what Jesus was going through…and would soon go through.

 

He went back to them twice.  Obviously, the answer was no.  They could not stay awake.  No matter what the situation or circumstance, they couldn’t stay awake.

 

Back in the days of playing sports, “Wake up!” was a pretty common comment.  It usually came after you did something stupid or failed to do what you were supposed to do.  It meant that you weren’t paying attention.  You weren’t concentrating.  Your body was there but your mind was taking a break.

 

Today it is the Apostle Paul inviting the Romans to wake up.  When you hear this text on Sunday you will only hear these verses.  But if you take the time to read the entire 13th and 14th chapters you will see that Paul is urging the Romans to make the most of the time they have – for the sake of the new community they have now joined, and for the sake of the surrounding community. 

 

The operative value is love for their neighbor.  The new question isn’t “What’s in it for me?” but “How can I live in a manner which most accurately reflects the power of God’s love at work in my life?”

 

At some point tonight I will lay down to sleep in Lima, Peru.  Tomorrow I will walk out into streets where I – white, gray-haired, 6’6” tall, 350 lbs – will probably stick out like a sore thumb.  I’m not the kind of physical presence that easily blends into the background.  But I hope, as I represent Faith Lutheran Church in the company our partners at Vida Nueva Lutheran Church, it isn’t the size of my body but the size of God’s love that leaves the biggest impression.

 

But that won’t come easily for me.  For me, the ability to listen more than talk, to avoid snap judgments, to be patient and kind, takes effort.  It requires concentration and focus.  I think that is the stance, the way of being, that Paul invites us into as we carry, and are carried by, the love of God into the world.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, most of the time we find ourselves stumbling half awake through the dark, just doing what comes naturally without paying much attention.  Help us stay awake, alert, mindful of how our lives impact the lives of others.  May we live today out of love, doing the next right thing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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4 Responses to “Romans 13:11-14”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Godspeed Pastor. And thanks be to God for you and your mission.

  2. Perry Dukes Says:

    Oops. Anonymous (previous comment) is Perry Dukes.

  3. Carolee Groux Says:

    I almost got to Lima, Peru with the Peace Corp after college graduation. I opted instead for a paid teaching position. I often wish that I would have gone to see the land, Machu Picchu, and to know and help the people. I love the colorful dress and the hats they wear.
    May you be a blessing to them, as they will be to you. Safe travels.

  4. Steve Bales Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Pastor Kerry and God’s blessings to HIS cchildren in Peru…wishing you safe travels!

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