One of my favorite childhood memories is quail hunting with
my Grandpa, and often being joined by my Dad. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in that little county seat town near the Oklahoma panhandle where my grandparents lived, we would climb into Grandpa’s battered old van to drive out to one of several farms where relatives or friends allowed us to hunt.
With Skip, his Brittany Spaniel, a few yards ahead, Grandpa trudged through the shallow, thistle-filled ravines etched into the fallow wheat fields. It was often fingers-and-face-numbing cold. I haven’t picked up a gun in nearly 50 years, but I still vividly recall the moments when Skip would freeze in her tracks, “on point,” her nose often inches from the nearest bird. Grandpa would quietly signal with a raised hand and Dad and I also stopped.
I remember the feeling of being on high alert, 20-gauge Winchester in ready position, eyes peeled, nerves tingling, heart pounding, adrenalin rushing, knowing our quarry was so close by.
Perhaps those sensations are akin to the spiritual alertness and readiness Jesus spoke of in today’s reading. He urged his disciples to be on guard and alert at all times (vv. 34, 36). While Jesus was speaking of “that day” when the Son of Man returns with power and great glory, his exhortation applies to every day of life as Christ’s followers. We are to be spiritually disciplined and prepared, always alert to, and on guard against, anything that distracts or deters us from the life and mission to which God calls us.
What would enable you to live with spiritual alertness and readiness, free from the worries of this life (v. 34)?
God, so often I merely go through the motions of a religious life. In your power, enliven my spiritual sensibilities. Amen.