Keeping Watch

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“STAY  HERE  AND  KEEP  WATCH  WITH  ME.”

Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane

“Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.  “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?”  he asked Peter.  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.  Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us go!  Here comes my betrayer.”    (Matthew 26: 36-45)

This passage has always been a sobering one to me.  I can so easily identify with the disciples.  “The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  If ever there was an area in my spiritual life that needed improvement this is it.  Becoming like Francis and shirking all possessions, wealth, and position would in some ways make this process easier …. but what a price!   Certainly there must be a ‘middle road’ of sorts for a “post modern Christian” like myself.

As I embark on this ‘pilgrimage’ I am hoping that I will be able to balance the role of “photographer” and that of “pilgrim”.  I hope to find (perhaps I will need to “make”) time to spend in prayer and meditation.  I have set a goal of attempting spend all such time NOT thinking of ‘self’ but rather waiting in silence for what God puts on my heart.  This will likely be very difficult.

We ‘pilgrims’ that are “Chasing Francis” all desire to become more and more like Jesus as we follow him.   “Stay here and keep watch for us.”

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