Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Wake Up Call

By Alexia Ioannides

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – The Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:14)

Those who are acquainted with the popular music of this generation are most likely familiar with the trendy rock band, Evanescence, and their awfully dark, but candid hit song, Bring Me to Life. The lyrics tell the story of one woman’s inner diary; her thoughts, feelings, and cries of desperation as she seeks someone, anyone, to wake her up from a spiritual slumber. She continues to express her heart cry, pleading for a resurrection power to call her from the sleep of death, before it is too late. Finally, the song dramatically ends with one last plea for salvation, as she confesses the reality of her existence: “I’ve been living a lie. There’s nothing inside. Bring me to life.”

The implications of this song far surpass its genre status as merely “pop music” because they vividly portray those who live in this age of obscurity without the light of Christ. It is the anthem of a generation of walking zombies. We encounter these people daily; they work at our jobs, study at our schools, and even live in our homes. They appear to be functioning normally because they have the same blood flowing through their veins as us. What we fail to discern, however, is that the lifeblood of their souls are frozen, and their spiritual senses have become numb to the ways of God. In Matthew 13:15, Christ discussed the nature of these “zombies”: “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Spiritual slumber is the unobvious, but rampant epidemic affecting the masses, and they are in dire need of a wake-up call.

Saint Irenaeus, an early Church Father of the 2nd century, rightly once stated, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” He clearly understood the significance of a wake-up call because God’s reputation, His credit and fame, is staked upon the coming alive of man’s image. Ever since the First Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin has disfigured the image of God in man, conveying a false message about His nature, and thus, blaspheming His glory. When the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, fulfilled His Earth mission by redeeming humanity from the curse of sin, He freely gave His Holy Spirit to restore man’s authentic image, which will ultimately reinstate His Father’s glory. Apparently, this task cannot be fully accomplished without the help of the Body of Christ, the Orthodox Church, to reach out to those who wear the mask of false identity.

The reason why the Orthodox Church plays such a vital role in accomplishing this task is because it is a Spiritual Hospital. It was bestowed by the Holy Apostles, the procedures and medicines essential to heal the spiritually sick and raise the spiritually dead. As members of His Body, we must be His hands and feet and employ the graces of healing manifested through the Holy Sacraments and Spiritual Disciplines (i.e. Holy Communion, Holy Confession, Prayer, and Fasting). These are the healing balms by which we nurse the wounded; impartations of the resurrection power of the Great Physician.

Humanity, as represented by the woman in the song, is frantically seeking refuge from the wave of spiritual slumber that has crashed upon our shores. Depression and suicide rates in America are at an all-time high, aiding fuel to the countless campaigns of New Age, self-help, and religious gurus who claim empty promises of deliverance, while simultaneously reaping a financial harvest from the tears of the destitute. Many are longing to experience a genuine spiritual awakening, one that will reveal to them their true identity in Christ. Just as the Angel of the Lord, in Acts 5:20, inspired the Holy Apostles to fearlessly spread the gospel at any cost, may our prayer be that these words continue to rouse those who share in the Apostles’ zeal to sound the wake-up call, and “tell the people the full message of this new life.”


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