“Stay woke” is a phrase I wasn’t familiar with until recently. Now it seems I see it everywhere I turn. It’s a phrase used by much of the African American community.  And it’s a spiritual practice I’m passionate about – that is, “Pay attention to the world around you!”

I think that “staying woke” often comes when God’s Word collides with our everyday lives. We see the Gospel being lived out and are inspired, or we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something unnatural to us, but common to Jesus.

This morning I thought of it as I was reading James 3:17 which is describing a Holy life.

It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings...treating each other with dignity and honor.

This was timely as God’s Word often is, since you know…He’s God and all.

Anyway, it brought to mind two recent “snapshots”.  In each instance I observe friends who “stay woke” and treat those who are often “invisible” with the dignity and honor of men and women made in God’s image.

My friend Allan, engages the workers at the hotel where we’re staying in Malawi, asking about their lives in such a way that one of them is prompted to say “Thank you for seeing us.”

My friend Helen, beside me in the outdoor market, reminds me to ask the name of the craftsman who made the wooden bowl I am buying and praise the work he offers proudly.

And I think of this woman and her friends, living in a dusty cluster of huts two hours past then ends of the earth, hoping for a better life, and waiting for us to come so they can dance and sing and show us their creativity. Waiting for us to see them and celebrate them.


I think of Hagar in the wilderness who is so comforted by “the God who sees me”. (Genesis 16:13)

But the overlooked are not just faraway. Years ago I was prompted to start pausing to thank every cleaning person I see in restrooms, hotels, airports…What an invisible type of job. I hope it is another way of “staying woke”.

God always “stays woke”, and sees us.

How important it is to feel seen. To be assured that we matter. As we “stay woke” we mirror God’s image and remind others that they matter.

How might you “stay woke” to the “invisible” around you today?