Jesus predicted that all of his disciples would desert him that night. Not only Peter, but all of them promised to stay with Jesus and even die with him. Yet, a short time later, while Jesus agonized and prayed over his coming suffering and death, the disciples fell asleep—three times. Why did they sleep? Were they bored? Tired? Or maybe they just did not sense the importance of the moment. They slept through the holy moment.
Like the disciples, we confidently promise our loyalty and faithfulness to the end. We sing piously, "take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold....take my intellect, take my will, take my hands, take my feet..." It is difficult to live up to those promises. For us, sleeping through a holy moment is more than falling asleep during the sermon. For us, being attentive to holy moments also means sensing the holy in our relationships with family, friends, or work associates, or seeking to bring healing to a hurting person. We are invited to become more aware of holy moments, whether in church, in our homes, or at work.
Gracious God, we mean well when we promise to serve you faithfully, but sometimes, we fail. We ask your forgiveness and claim your grace as you open our eyes to holy moments in our lives. Amen.
Matthew 26:31-45 (NRSV)
31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee."
33 Peter said to him, "Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you."
34 Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times."
35 Peter said to him, "Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples.
36 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."
37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.
38 Then he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me."
39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want."
40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done."
43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.