Tuesday, 5 June 2007

While you were Sleeping...

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an ever lasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight, tonight

Oh Bethlehem what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh little town of Bethlehem you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only son
The Way, the Truth and the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save
Jerusalem what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on a cross today
Jerusalem you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King

While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

The Land Down Under
Looks like another silent night
Every son deceived by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while lying there in the dark
There's a shout across the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night, in the night
Australia what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
Australia will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King

Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

Wow! I love this song by Casting Crowns. First off, yes I changed some of the words (the ones in italics) just to make it a little more personal to an Aussie, obviously the original lyrics spoke of the United States of America.

There are not many times where I end up with tears in my eyes over a song, Keith Green and Michael W Smith have been known to do it to me a couple of times, but this morning driving to work this song touched me deeply. This morning I was reading about Moses and the Israelites, and their golden calf. God wanted to wipe the Israelites off the face of the earth, but Moses talked him out of it. Moses interceded for the nation, and I just had the feeling that maybe we need to do that in the face of the drought we’re in. Is there something behind this drought – is God trying to wake our nation up, but do we continue to ignore him.

All this was going through my head when this song came on the iPod in the car this morning. And I cried for our nation. The eastern sky – representing the Eastern Church (3rd World) is where God’s trumpet sounds so loudly, and here in Australia and the USA are we going to miss it because of all the ‘worldly’ philosophies we get caught up in. Sure nuclear power, recycled water, tree logging and koala’s are important issues, but I have a hard time putting that in front of starving kids in Rwanda, kid soldiers in Uganda, girl prostitution in Cambodia and the general disregard for life in Zimbabwe. I get the feeling God is calling us to save these people – and we’re ignoring that call and getting ‘caught up’ in the politics of our nation. We can start with looking after the people in our own communities, especially those who are underprivileged which in most cases included our local Aboriginal communities. Whitehill supports the local Salvation Army Indigenous church, and I think I need to find a way to be a little more involved there.

But my tears today were for all those other people driving with me on the motorway – the majority of them are in the dark, they’re sleeping while God’s plan is being revealed, and when that trumpet call happens they will be the one’s caught sleeping while the Bridegroom returns and carries his church away. Even my workmates – I feel so helpless in helping them, yet I know that’s because of my own short comings, they’re a great bunch of guys yet as the song says they’re the ones sleeping, with no idea Jesus is coming back one day soon.

As Christians it’s our job to wake everyone up, God’s presence on earth these days is through the lives of the people he dwells within. So does that mean the duty falls to us? I think it does.

I so don’t want Australia to go down in history as a nation with no room for its king!

As a bit of a Post Script - here's what Mark Hall has to say on the Casting Crowns website about his motives for the song.

"I set out to set the classic hymn "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" to new music and, in the process, rediscovered the song and its message. They slept through it. Bethlehem missed the birth of the Savior of the world. Jerusalem did the same with Jesus' ministry among them. Seems crazy - 'til we as a nation look in the mirror."

Written by Mark Hall

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