You can read the whole passage for today here.
37Every day [Jesus] was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called.Â 38And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.
It’s not that I’m skipping over the apocalyptic part of this text. It’s that I preached Mark’s version of it on the first Sunday of Advent. And what was missing from Mark were all the people who got up early to go to the Temple and listen to Jesus teach. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus is speaking to his closest disciples. I’m not surprised when they get up early to hear Jesus–they were his crew. Where he went, they went. What he did, they did.
But let’s talk about these people getting up early in the morning to meet with Jesus in the temple. He’s presumably there teaching all day, but some people get up early in the morning to go hear him.
Maybe they wanted to be sure not to miss anything. Maybe these are people who can sit in the Temple all day and listen, and that’s what they are doing from the earliest hour until Jesus finishes, however late that might be.
Or maybe they went before they began their workdays. Or before the children were awake and required attention. Or before the chores of home and homestead began in earnest. Maybe they went when they were able to step away from their daily tasks and go hear from Jesus.
Maybe it was just men, as would be customary in the temple. But women figure prominently into Jesus’ ministry–as ones who sit at his feet and listen, as ones who fund his ministry, as ones who proclaim the good news of his resurrection. So I can’t imagine it’s just men who are there to hear him, and that women are present in one way or another in the temple courts.
In some years, my Lenten or Advent discipline has included waking up before the sunrise to study scriptures and write my daily reflection. The way I made it through seminary involved waking up at 4:30 most days to read the thousands of pages assigned for each semester, to write papers, and to prepare for exams. Now I wake up early to read scriptures and spend a few moments reflecting as a child of God before I begin my work as a professional reader and studier of scripture (and the daily tasks of ministry).
Why? Because drawing near to Jesus and living into his calling for me is worth it.
That’s not to shame people who are unable to do that, or who don’t function well early in the morning. Obviously you will find your own rhythm for meeting with Jesus. I’m naturally a morning person and getting up early is much more possible for me than staying up late or even trying to take time in the late afternoon when my brain is largely mush.
To me the point is more this: if it’s important to you, you will find the time to do it. Whether it’s early, or late, or on your lunch break, or during your commute, or when you would have been watching Netflix–you will find even just a few minutes to do the things you long to do.
May you be filled with the goodness of God and closeness of Jesus this day.