by: Johnny Golden
Leisurely lounging on the sofa one recent Sunday afternoon my wife entered the space and I faintly heard her ask, “are you sleep?” Arousing from my 40 winks -now minus a few - I incoherently and unintelligibly mumbled something to the effect of “No, whatz up, I’m woke”.
Linguistically and socially the concept of “wokeness” has exploded within the culture – and there is virtually no venue where the term is not invoked. For opponents of its use, the over-arching thrust behind it, they say, is a new day form of “CANCEL CULTURE”, the modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – because of their views or behavior. Those who are subject to this exclusion from the group are said to have been "cancelled" (btw, in ancient Greece banishment of an unpopular or all too powerful a citizen from a city for five or ten years by popular vote was not an uncommon occurrence).
On the fateful night that he was to be betrayed Jesus went to pray (Matthew 26: 36 – 46) with the excruciating weight of the hour upon him he returned to the garden where he had left his followers and found them each fast asleep. In his apparent frustration and disappointment, he uttered the woeful lament, “what, could you not watch with me (stay woke) for one hour?”
To the awesome joy of every Believer, Jesus is coming again. His return will signal the end of time as we know it and he will rapture his church. The dead in Christ shall rise and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 17). The priority and preference is given to those who are asleep - the dead in Christ. Clearly, it is the ‘awakened’ who shall rise “first.
And yet, who amongst us lives a full life without dreams? Langston Hughes, the considered dean of the Harlem Renaissance (circa 1910- 1930’s) astutely writes, “hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly”.
In his magnum opus, “The Divine Comedy”, Dante Alighieri, the imminent Italian poet of the late 13th and early 14th centuries, posits that the summum bonum of knowledge is revealed and not learned; a knowledge which can only come from and be given by the Divine (suggestively, dreaming while asleep), not of earth’s eudaemonia, ephemeral nature, or educated elites. I suppose, Lives that dream matter!
So, as the nation see-saws and struggles to unite and unify her peoples, each of us – whatever our affiliations and affectations – must do our parts to help form “a more perfect union”. The unmistakable voice of R & B singer, the late Teddy Pendergrass, mournfully and soulfully croons “WAKE UP, EVERYBODY”!
The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us that ”a more perfect tabernacle” (Hebrews 9:11) a tabernacle not made with hands, the house in which we worship and honor our God is the place where true acuity resides. No amount of popularism, privilege, or petty peeves can deny it is so. Brothers and Sisters, it is time to rise.