At the Gate: Woke Does Not Die

Sitting at the gate is an act of seeing, observing, and paying attention to life. The gate is a panoramic place where we see the breadth and depth (diversity and wonder) of life. It is no accident that “the recovery of sight to the blind” launched Jesus’ mission and characterized his ministry (Luke 4:18), and he said it is to be ours as well (Luke 9:2).

He wanted people to have eyes that see (Mark 8:18)–people who see that Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11)–people who live so that none are “othered” or “less-thaned” (Galatians 3:28) or left in need (Acts 4:34). He taught that caring for “the least” is caring for him (Matthew 25:40). Awakening is at the heart of the spiritual life. Being “woke” is God’s will

And that’s why Governor Ron DeSantis’ comments following his re-election as Florida’s governor are so appalling, and anti-Christian. He said he would continue to work to make Florida the state where “woke goes to die.” Anyone who knows even a little about Jesus recognizes how evil words like that are.

But DeSantis is not an isolated personification of an anti-awakening mindset. Others think, speak, and act similarly. A slogan has emerged in recent days, “Make America Florida.” There are people across the nation, some who profess to be Christian (as DeSantis does), who are promoting life contrary to the life that was in Christ.

It is only those who “prefer darkness to light because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19-21) who would prevent us from being woke. To be woke is to be awakened, to see things as they are rather than accepting false narratives and santized histories. The way of Christ is the way of awakening–of getting woke. The Gospel says that becoming woke is God’s will.

If this is not enough, Jesus set the final judgement in relation to those who see and those who do not (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus commends the woke ones, for it is on the basis of their sight that their compassion flowed for the common good. The blind kept life defined by their selfishness and supremacy.

Woke ones see life in relation to God’s way–“justice for the world” (1Chronicles 18:14), When we have eyes that see, we recognize that there is no place where woke is supposed to die.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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