Just stay awake and watch.

Mark 14:32-42

“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” V. 34

Sometimes you can feel the darkness. The black night sky pours out thick oil on your shoulders, smothering any semblance of daylight. Andrew dug in just far enough from the master to hear his faint groaning’s mingled with haunting night sounds, harmonizing with an eerie sense of foreboding.  There’s a kind of hypnotic effect that comes over a weary soul, in the late hours, blurring the lines between consciousness and sleep. You don’t really know how much is real, and how much is just in your head. This is one of those nights that make you long for something to happen, good or bad. You’d just about welcome anything at all to shake you out of this limbo.

Andrew wanted to stay awake but his eyelids fused into iron with every creeping moment, and his head was drunk on darkness and firelight. To stay awake he tried to nail his eyelids on his master who was in prayer a few yards, seemed like miles, away.

In the past three years he had seen Jesus angry, sad, joyful, frustrated, and even a bit perplexed on occasions, but never like this.  It was a bit unnerving to see him shaking so violently. His whole body seemed to quake and totter constantly on the edge of an abyss. A momentary flash of firelight revealed what looked like a foreboding stream of blood priming Jesus ashen face.

Andrew found himself running to Jesus with a long sword slashing and cutting away at a fierce dark beast, which was jabbing a makeshift crown full of thorns onto the Rabbi’s head. Then there were bats with red mocking eyes coming at him from all sides, spitting fire at Jesus. Andrew was swinging wildly, but then his sword grew heavy. He tried to run, but couldn’t move his legs. Another dark beast shoved a spear at the master, piercing his rib cage. Andrew tried to fight but was too weak to lift his hands. He screamed out echoes of terror into the night sky.

The next thing he felt was a hand on his shoulder, shaking him. “Wake up! Andrew! Wake up. You’re dreaming! The master is coming.”

Trying to rub the embarrassment from his eyes, Andrew stood up with the others, letting the cold night air resuscitate him.

“Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus’ words cut into Andrew’s heart leaving him fumbling in vain for a response. His weary frame dipped back against a tree watching Jesus enter the ring for another round.

Seeing his teacher rock back and forth with the world perched on his shoulders, its crushing claws sinking deep, Andrew wanted to do something. But what do you do when the world seems to be suffocating in darkness, and even God seems powerless to stop it? He decided in such a time all he could do was try to stay awake, and keep his gaze riveted on his teacher, no matter how hard it became to see him. There must be some battles that only Jesus can fight. So  Andrew kept telling himself, “Stay awake and watch. Just stay awake and watch. Just stay awake and watch.  Just stay awake….”

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