In dedication to African-American History Month …
In a great village (or community), all the people are never asleep at the same time. There is always one elder, one warrior and one child awake.
One elder is always awake because elders carry within themselves the narrative and collective wisdom of the people. One warrior is always awake because warriors are the protectors and defenders of the village. One child is always awake to remind the elder and the warrior that the children are the hope and future of the nation.
The destruction of the nation begins when the elder nods off, the warrior dozes at his post and the awakened child, without the elder’s guidance and the warrior’s discipline, runs rampant in the village.
Thus, the child goes from being a living symbol of hope and incredible possibilities, to an unwitting purveyor of death, violence and mangled dreams. It is midnight in the village. Sound the alarm.
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verse 14, he commands the people to “awake you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
To the elders is written, “See to it that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.” And to the warriors in another passage these words, “Therefore, let us not sleep as others. Let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
The elders must be fully awake, walking circumspectly in wisdom, redeeming the times, for these are evil times. The warriors must be sober, watchful and disciplined. And the children must be apprenticed, discipled and nurtured.
The village should be made literate in its own history and awakened to its own unbounded potentials. Perhaps, even more radically, the village as a whole must seek God with great diligence, walk with soundness in its heritage, continually contribute to advancing civilization, love its people abundantly, and grasp its future securely… boldly going forth in its Christ freedom – wide awake.
The apostle Paul warns and encourages believers with these words, “For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of the hope of salvation.” (1Thessalonians 5:7, 8)
Rev. Charles Tripp is senior pastor at Great Light Church, 1100 W. 42nd St., Suite 223, Indianapolis, IN 46208.