Great Awakenings

“Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” – Psalm 108:2

Who is in charge of great awakenings?

One of my members is worthy of great respect. He also has a knack for giving advice. He really wants the Black Lives Matters movement to change its name because he believes, sincerely, that another name would be less antagonizing. He doesn’t know how offensive his advice is.

I often find myself giving unsolicited advice. “If you just did that, instead of that,” I’ll say, “things would go better for you.” I can often feel my unintentional patronizing evoking a response like, “Thank you, grrrrr, for sharing.”

And when Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II argues that we are in a “third great awakening” in this country, I smile, ear to ear. I think he is right – and I don’t know what took the divine so long to get us here. If only God would listen more to me?

There are also days when I think I am in charge of the dawn. How else did it pink itself through my window? 

I am too immodest not to pick a fight with a psalmist. I kind of know what the psalmist means. I think the psalm means that when we are so full of music, we even imagine we awaken the dawns. We don’t.


Thank you, harp and lyre, for making music for us and in us. Thank you, dawn, for coming up yourself, without our assistance. And thank you for mattering, people. Awaken us. Amen.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.