Excerpt from Mark 14:32-42
"Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?"
Martin B. Copenhaver
Jesus was upset with his most trusted disciples because they could not stay awake for an hour while he prayed. After all, what's an hour? Well, it depends…
An hour taking a test feels like a breathless sprint. An hour waiting in line seems to plod along on leaden feet.
An hour spent waiting for the parade to come down the street can be full of eager anticipation. An hour waiting in the doctor's office to hear about the test results can be full of dread.
An hour can breeze by or it can feel like a great weight on your chest.
An hour can be hard. Sometimes we are not up to the challenges of an hour. Sometimes an hour is more than we can bear.
But, to be honest, to watch for one hour while Jesus prays just doesn't seem that difficult, does it? Other hours carry much greater challenges than that.
Which may be why the disciples weren't up to it. Sometimes it is the little tasks we just can't find the energy to do. Sometimes it's easier to rise to a larger challenge. It gets our attention. We dig down deep. Often the bigger challenge draws the best from us.
Waiting one hour while Jesus prays just doesn't seem all that difficult. It's not that big a challenge - which may be why the disciples were not able to pull it off.
God, I frequently ask you to help me in the times of my biggest challenges, but today I seek your help with the smaller challenges that I am used to addressing on my own.
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.