RISE & SHINE
Rocking chairs are so comfortable. Or are they too comfortable? When we think of rocking chairs we often think of older people sitting in them. I remember clearly seeing my grandparents on the back porch happily tilting back and forth sipping iced tea. Nursing homes are filled with great-grandmas squeakily shifting to and fro daily while knitting on an afghan. Studies have actually been conducted in nursing homes where nurses closely monitored patient behavior for six weeks while residents rocked, and compared it to their behavior during six weeks of no rocking. When the patients were rocking, they were happy; when they weren’t, they weren’t.
There’s just something super comfy about that rocking chair, and the rocking motion that goes along with it. It’s soothing for the infant in a mother’s arms, for the elderly, and for everyone in between. Rocking chairs are perfect for lazy days when there’s nothing else to do, nowhere to go, nobody to see, just rock back and forth, back and forth. Are you getting sleepy, verrrrry sleeeeeepy?
Getting a dose of soothing comfort now and then is healthy for the mind and the soul, just like a good night’s sleep gives needed rest to the body. But sooner or later (for most of us, sooner than we’d like) it’s time to rise and shine! “How long will you lie there you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” That sounds like the gruff good morning greeting I used to get from mom or dad, but would you believe you can find it in the Bible book of Proverbs, chapter 6, verse 9?
Isaiah similarly calls, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). Hey, when the glory of God is here, it’s not time to sit back and take it easy! Jesus became transfigured on the mountain not to help him and his three companions get a better sleep for the night. No! It was preparation for a big task, a very difficult one, in which the glory of God would be hidden for a while. The suffering. The cross. The shame. Not a time to be lulled into laziness, neither for Jesus nor his disciples.
Rise and shine! It’s not as dark as you think. The glory of God is here, strengthening you with the desire to do what is right, enlightening you with wisdom to think more like Jesus, empowering you to fight off temptation and all the while let your light shine so that others wake up from spiritual slumber.
Get out of your rocking chair and get busy. Jesus has work for us to do!
PRAYER: I want to be comfortable, Jesus, but not too comfortable. Like you, content with life but never satisfied that enough people are loved, served, and helped. When I get too busy to go out of my way for another, forgive my selfishness and fill me with the light of your love. When I feel too tired to care any more, forgive my little faith and fill me with the light of your strength. Be the light that wakes me up and gets me going. Amen.
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