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Romans 5:12-21; Luke 12:35-38

No matter how nasty things seem, God's grace always will prevail.  I want to trust in that.  But the world makes it difficult.  I want to be awake to God's love and power.

But there is violence, war, harm that comes to children, to the innocent. Sometimes the world seems powerless to protect us from the cheat, the backstabber, the rage-addicted bully who holds the position of power.

The first of today's readings tells me that no matter how dark, no matter how bleak the landscape, God's light will rule.  All that is required of me is to endure, wait with faith and hope, and be watchful.  To be awake, alert and prepared.  To put first things first.

In a world where every new day brings a new tale of loss, brutality or disappointment, how do I get beyond these gut-wrenching spectacles and put first things first?

In the reading from Luke, Jesus attempts to help me by using the example of vigilant servants waiting for their master's return.  They are ready, alert, living their lives with the faithful expectation that the master will be back.  They are not distracted.

Sometimes the world distracts me.  Sometimes I lose sight of why I am here. Sometimes I cannot stay awake.  To be vigilant, to avoid living in the kind of stupor that is inculcated by my rushed and harried life, is more than I can do alone.

This is where God helps me.

I need God, my Church, my family, my community, my spiritual adviser, people who love me, to help me focus on first things, on God's grace.  God gives me all of these people for the purpose of keeping my focus on God.  All of these spiritual resources help keep me awake.  They help keep alive my faith.  They are God's great bright lights in the otherwise dark landscape.

By Steve Klein

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