I love sleeping.
I mean it. I LOVE sleeping. In fact, I like to think I have a gift for it. I’ve fallen asleep while standing up. I’ve fallen asleep while drinking a Starbucks quad espresso. And I’ve fallen asleep while sitting on a bench at Disneyland. Yes, Disneyland. The happiest place on earth. And once I’m asleep, it takes 10 alarms of the most obnoxious nature to get me up. I often remind my roommates that if an emergency should occur, they’re going to have to carry me from my room, because I will be happily sleeping through it.
I feel pretty proud of my sleeping abilities. That is, until I read Acts 20:7-12, where this poor kid, Eutychus, plummets to his death while sleeping during a sermon. If that doesn’t make you open your eyes a bit wider, I don’t know what will.
So, usually, I skim over this story a bit. I make a mental note not to fall asleep in windowsills and then move on to the rest of Paul’s adventures. But, for some reason, this story really caught my attention this time around. And I have so many questions…
Why was the kid in the windowsill? What in the world was Paul talking about for so long? And please, somebody tell me, where were this kid’s parents??
But then, I’m struck by Paul’s reaction. All my questions had to do with placing the blame. I was trying to figure out who was responsible for this. But Paul immediately reacts.
“Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said, ‘he’s alive!’” (Acts 20:10).
He throws himself on the young man. An act that shows no regard for dignity or status. An act that shows no disapproval or placement of blame. An act that reminds me immediately of the father with the prodigal son.
And I am shook.
I have to wonder. Who is in our peripheral? Who is sitting in our windowsills? Who is falling asleep instead of engaging…and what is our response when they do?
Do we point fingers and place blame? Or, do we rush to them in an embrace, drawing them with the power and love of Christ from death to life, from lost to found, from asleep to awake.
And imagine if we embraced them before they even fell. If we left our comfort zones behind, laid a hand on the young man sleeping in the windowsill and said, “Wake up. There’s a place for you here in our midst.”
Pastor Tiffany Wortley