How many alarms do we need?

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, it would often take two or three alarms to wake me up in the morning. Today, there is some sort of internal alarm that wakes me up at the same time every day. I certainly prefer this to the jangling, thumping, ever-louder noises that I used to rely on.

In another sense, alarm clocks are going off pretty regularly around the world these days. Violence has been erupting in Moscow, Bali, New York, Kashmir, the Ivory Coast, the Middle East. Just when we manage to get comfortable again, another alarm about terrorism sounds off. National leaders are clearly struggling to find effective ways to keep people alert without senselessly scaring them. But many people are simply pulling the covers over their heads, hoping "the noise" will all go away.

Hiding from evil never healed or resolved anything. In fact, fearing evil makes us subject to it. So hearing those alarms is not the problem. The real message, when they're ringing regularly, tells us we need to be spiritually awakened—spiritually strong.

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December 2, 2002

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