Stay With Me

During the season of Lent we have been asking each of you to participate in a spiritual practice together; the spiritual practice of “paying attention.”  I hope you have found ways to do this in your personal life during these last few weeks.  Whether it is more intentional time spent in prayer, daily devotions, more frequent scripture reading, or simply setting aside time to ponder the presence or movement of God in your life, these all can be transformative practices that can give new life to your faith and strengthen your relationship with God.
I find that for me, reading often provides this time to reflect upon my faith.  One article that I found particularly helpful this week focused on the story of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.  In this story, Jesus is fervently praying, crying out to God about the circumstances he finds himself in and the imminent threat of death he faces.
In this moment of grief and angst, Jesus has one simple request for his disciples.  He asks them to stay with him, to remain close by, and to stay awake.  Of course, the disciples fail in this task.  After all, the hour was late and they had been busy.  They fall asleep, forcing Jesus to be alone in his despair.
The season of Lent can be a long one.  At this point in the season, Ash Wednesday can seem like it was ages ago.  You are probably not alone if you can feel you attention wandering and your spiritual fervor fading.  We all have the best of intentions, just like the disciples, to stay awake, to stay focused, to remain close by to Christ, however we too grow weary by the length of the day and perhaps the length of the season.
However, as we draw nearer and nearer to the events of Holy Week, to the waving of the palms, the meal shared by Jesus and his disciples, the despair of the garden, the suffering of the cross, and the emptiness of the tomb; may we hear the invitation of Christ.  The same invitation that he extended to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane.  The invitation to stay awake, stay close, and to pay attention.  If we are able to do this, with God’s help, there is no telling what we may experience this Easter.
In Christ,
Charlie Lee

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