A few days ago, I managed to hitch along a ride to the distant terrains of Blantyre town (perhaps it was not that distant). We clumsily entered the hall as the body of believers welcomed us in as we all half attempted to hold our composure of seriousness as streams of silliness spilt through the cracks. We sat. We prayed. We listened. The buzz of excitement that jolted through the room echoed our inner ‘twang’ that threaded the bond of our connection. As the night drew to an end (and so we thought), a ‘stray’ comment stirred up an “unforeseen” gum gabbing that paved way to a second sermon. If one were to sheepishly walk by the room they would perhaps mistaken the bible gathering for a political rally grappling issues of race, gender roles and colonialism. Our differing yet complimentary views sounded a millennial melody of young adults contending the issues that plague their generation. Though some may appear asleep, a rising generation has picked up their mantle proclaiming the mantra of awareness and realization: Woke!
“When we have fallen asleep to the reality of our Maker, the only thing that remains ‘woke’ is the beastly condition of our heart.”
How woke are you? “Woke” made its debut as a byword in 2008 with the release of Erykah Badu’s song ‘Master Teacher.’ In recent years (and more so, in the last few months), social media frontiers and activists have echoed their deep felt sentiments towards social injustices and prejudices that dehumanize our rights and privileges (#StayWoke). Many have defined this byword within frameworks of their paradigm and grid of understanding. Yet what has cocooned as the prevailing characterization of those who are ‘woke’ is awareness: aware of the oppression that lays bare beyond their walls of privilege; aware of the injustices that claim normality yet appeal to sheer hatred and spite; aware of the need to be aware. The norm of van terrorism, racial tug of wars, and gender tension has portrayed our beastly hearts covered in bone and skin embodying the shape and form of human beings. Oppression and suffering tugs at the epicenter of our humanity begging questions of dignity and value equality. At what point did we become better than the other? At what point did the “love” for who we are morph into the hate for those who are not? At what point did marginalization become okay enough to sleep upon? Each waking moment, the fiber of our being claws at our conscious feeling for answers that will perhaps fish out the crux of our world predicament. What is the problem? Does it lie in racial wars as skin color paints canvasses of hierarchical worth, vanquishing all thought and reason behind the obvious (that the color of our skin is simply that: the color of our skin)? Does it lie in chauvinistic philosophies wrapped in misogyny that have tsunami across the cultural frontier as waves of feministic ideologies war in equal combat in the never ending battle of the sexes ? Does it lie in the fact that perhaps for so long we have been asking the wrong questions missing the fundamental answer to our human condition? When we have fallen asleep to the reality of our Maker, the only thing that remains ‘woke’ is the beastly condition of our heart. What are we to do? Better yet, what has He done?
Injustice and social oppression is not new to our millennial era. Infact, each time period serves as a reflection of the cyclical history that plays around itself, repeating only what history has taught and what our hearts have refused to learn. As we read the Scriptures we see wars against minorities and cries from those who have been enslaved by their masters; we see heroes emerge and heroes die as each plays his and her role in the sovereign plan of God to rescue humanity from humanity. Yet God ‘interjects’ the scenes of maliciousness and presents to mankind a new level of awareness- and dare I say, a new level of Woke. The death of Jesus Christ signified the death of all things that plagued us into a state of sleep. Our human condition of sin choked at His last breath as the mantra of His finished work put to death our greatest enemy: death. Yet, it did not stop there. On the third day, the Father ‘woke’ Him up. The great grace that stands beckoning at our hearts finds its footing in the fact that in Him, we too can be woke: empowered by the Spirit of God who rose Christ from the dead that we too may be ‘woke’ to the greatest reality- namely, God! For when our awareness becomes conscious of God, our hearts collide with this spell binding truth: that we were all made in the image of God; image bearers made with the intent to worship and live for our Maker. Gods heart for the oppressed has been to free hearts from the pangs of human evil that they may come into the freedom of worshipping God (the true realization of our humanity). The freedom that we receive in Jesus grants us liberty to freely love for in Him we understand the grace that God has for all of humanity.
So let us be a woke generation. A generation aware and conscious of God. A generation aware of what the gospel has done for us. A generation aware of Gods gospel plan throughout humanity. A generation aware of the social injustices that claw at our doors beckoning hate. Let us boldly pick our rod and stare oppression in the face, boldly declaring by the power of God ‘Let my people go that they may worship Him.’ For the end of all humanity has and always will be God. Stay Woke.
At His Feet…