Putting on the Wakeful One
How can we fix our eyes on God amid the self-obsession and ‘gravitational pull’ of the culture around us? How can we perceive, with heightened awareness, God’s perspective on the world and other people?
In the fast-paced, post-modern Western world which is marked by fear and uncertainty, the timeless truths of the Gospel have been questioned to the extent they no longer hold credence in the minds of many people. There nevertheless remains for many a desperate search for meaningful spirituality and wisdom.
For those who do embrace the Gospel there is often a nagging sense of ‘surely there must be more to following Jesus than this?’ We often crave a clearer sense of God’s presence and purposes, what He wants to communicate to us as well as desiring to be more dynamic, relevant witnesses to a needy world.
Putting on the Wakeful One follows Shaun Lambert’s popular study of Christian Mindfulness: A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian MindFullness in which the author showed that transformation comes through the practice of being filled with the awareness of the presence of God.
In this powerful sequel, he presents Jesus as the Wakeful One of Mark’s Gospel: the Sage, Seer and Storyteller. Going right to the heart of what it means to be a disciple, he discusses key transformational practices that enable us to ‘put on’ the attributes of Jesus so that we can become ‘wakeful’ and ‘watchful’ followers.
Shaun shows this can be done through the reading of Scripture and contemplation. As part of this he includes a chapter on the watchfulness of the Desert Seers and Sages He shows how transformation relates to our physical bodies as well as our minds; that it involves the use of our senses and our capacity to pay attention to what is transpiring in the world around us and God’s activity in it.
He asks how the church should respond to the opportunities an uncertain world presents. As disciples of Jesus, how do we develop a perceptive, discerning faith whose foundations are love and truth, not fear?
Shaun blends information from a range of backgrounds – psychology, literature and theology – to explain and illuminate his concepts. He introduces new practices of reading, contemplating and meditating on Scripture, and encourages the reader to take time not just to read the book but also to develop these skills. As such it is a book to take time over: to contemplate, digest and dip back into over a period of time. The book can be used as a series of short studies ideal for small groups, and Shaun has included a study guide with a suggested format for meetings or discussions and has also recorded a series of podcasts to accompany each section.
Shaun believes that watchfulness is key to our transformation as Christians. He believes the church of the twenty-first century desperately needs to develop its ability to listen and perceive. He also believes it needs to cultivate and mature what has been called the ‘prophetic imagination’ in order to learn to read the signs of the times and bring the hope of the kingdom of God to all who will receive it.
Dr. Kate Middleton, psychologist, church leader and Director of Mind and Soul writes: ‘The book is a fascinating “pause for thought” in a busy world: an invitation to open our minds and attentions to what is going on all around us. But perhaps more importantly not only does it offer the chance to change ourselves, but through that change to enable us to be more aware of God’s call: not just the big things but the quieter moments, the spiritual nudges: the “still small voice” that may whisper words of prophecy, encouragement or revelation into the eyes of others’.