Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Matthew 26:36-46
The link above is for a video from the Taize community sings a wonderful song called "Watch and Pray", which has always inspired me at times of trials and great change.
When our children were young, it was often difficult to get one or another to sleep, especially when they were sick. We would take turns watching them, reading to them, cajoling them and more often than not, falling asleep beside them on the bed while the child remained awake and sick. We are human, all of us, and when sleep overwhelms us, it is hard to remain attention, awake and alert.
Jesus was at a crisis point, something we don't see often in the Gospels. His humanity and need drove him to pray, to speak with his heart about the suffering and change that was ahead. There was no false pride or macho athletic ranting. Instead, he acknowledged his fear and vulnerability and that of his friends. He knew they weren't up to the task -none of us really is- but he asked for endurance and strength to meet the day after asking for the cup to be taken from him. He ached for his disciples to know his weakness, not his strength, his humanity and not his godliness. They were too sleepy to enter that vulnerable place with him. But we are invited to understand that God in Christ knows the desperation and fear of our darkest moments and has lived those moments, so to live them with us. We are not alone.
Today, I ask for the faith to see God working in every conversation and every encounter. May God presence bring compassion and true understanding, so that we all know we are not alone but facing our worst fears with the presence of a loving Creator, one who loves us each beyond measure. May we act boldly and with compassion today, knowing there is enough love to go around and even plenty to share for the sake of the world.