Sitting on the floor outside her hospital room, the three girls whispered, afraid to disturb the patient. Listening to each noisy breath, they whispered so voices would not obscure any new sound. When the breathing faltered, their whispers ceased. When breathing resumed, their breath came out in a collective sigh. The waiting felt unbearable, as if each minute had a mind of its own and was determined to make its own time. Necks tightened. Shoulders ached. Minds swirled then went mercifully blank. How much longer could they continue so attuned to every nuance of death fighting life for the win?
I wonder if this kind of wakefulness is what Jesus wanted from his disciples that night in Gethsemane?
Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it
–Mark 14:37-38 MSG
Staying spiritually and emotionally awake is not something we typically do very well when we’re tired. And we do get tired. Tired of waiting, tired of arguing, tired of problems bigger than we can solve. We get weary…of holding on to good when bad seems to snatch it out of our hands. Fatigue deepens with every report of the homeless, the ousted, the mistreated, and the unloved.
Why would we stay awake, keeping vigil when the relief of sleep is so close and so easy?
If we were to stay awake, to stay present…to keep vigil with Christ, the gravity of the situation would change our sense of what’s important. And that’s what we find so unnerving. Common distractions and pleasures fall away. Life takes on a different sacredness. Immediacy stretches into unknown timeframes. We just know we must “be there,” awake, alert, and altogether present.
That kind of presence caused bloody sweat to drip from Jesus as he bore the agony of being fully awake.
I wonder how his experience that night would have been different if the disciples had stayed awake?
How Jesus longs for our company in the Gethsemane’s of our lives. When the fight for life from death rages in and around us, he calls us to wake up and be with him in the fight. When respite comes, imagine the comfort it brings him when we stay awake, keeping watch with him through the night.
As with Christ in Gethsemane, we have the agony of apprehending, wrestling with, and accepting God’s saving will for the world and for our individual lives. We are given the chance to become fully awake to a world that requires Golgotha but is also given the empty tomb.
–Heather Hughes, Christian Reflection
I wonder what joy we bring Jesus when we choose to wake up to our hearts, raise our sleepy eyelids, and truly see the world around us. Oh, that we would rise and rise again in vigil, joining Jesus as he sees the world in all its fallen glory, and move with him restoring it back to himself.
I wonder what kind of God would be revealed if we lived like that?
What catches your attention in the words above? Where do you sense the joy you bring Jesus when you bring your full self to him no matter what?