Who was watching whom? At first glance, this nesting swan seemed asleep. Then a glint in her eye gave it away. She had her eye on me. I chose not to disturb her further- an annoyed swan is quite formidable!
Do we keep such a good lookout when we are guarding something precious? Or do we drop off into a vulnerable doze?
Jesus told a story about women with oil lamps. Some kept them filled and ready, some took their eye off the ball and missed out when it mattered.
Perhaps that parable should poke us hard. The days we live in are complicated, and social and political issues face us all the time. Our belief in God is challenged or mocked, or we find ourselves surprised when we are ignored or disagreed with. Quite often we realise that we should have been prepared, should have put in the hard thinking and careful study so the current “hot topic” doesn’t catch us on the hop.
It might even be our own response to moral or ethical challenges. Questions about gender and sexuality, politics or economics, issues of medical treatment and “assisted dying”… Are we ready to answer, or at least to make sensible dialogue about big questions absorbing cultural attention? Did we see that coming?
Or personal struggles with temptations, or slipping personal standards or values… have we been awake to the risk of falling or blindly missing out a way of escape?
The eye is a lamp to the body- a window on the soul. Light will come in, or be excluded, depending on how watchful we are.
Are we watching to see where God is at work in the world, in our community, our church, or our own life? “Could you not watch with me for one hour,” said Jesus in Gethsemane… and they were saddened in their failure.
If the watchman fails, there is no real excuse. We are “on duty” for the world.
Take a moment to “take stock” of the most important and valuable people, truths, or gifts we have been entrusted with. In partnership with God, prayerfully stay awake and aware to keep safe the things we hold dear. Watch with me, says Jesus.
Lord, help us to see clearly what is most important now. Help us to be watchful in the small things; may they remind us that we are all watching for the Return of Christ, for the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God, and the reconciling power of the Gospel to be in our prayers, hopes and especially in our troubles. Amen.