Mark 14:37 Could you not watch with me one hour?
The vigil that follows the Maundy Thursday service invites us
to sit and watch with Christ during his anguished prayer,
and his pivotal decision in Gethsemane to say “yes”
to all that was to unfold in the coming night and day.
This night showed the human emotions of Jesus in turmoil,
and his willingness to completely surrender to love’s call.
We are told that he prayed that “the cup may be taken from him”,
yet, despite his anguish, also praying: “not my will, but thy will be done.”
As we sit with Jesus on this holy night,
we keep silent prayer in the chapel up to Midnight.
The silence is broken only by prayers at 10pm, Compline at 11pm,
and the Gospel reading of his arrest just before midnight.
You can come and leave as you wish during this time.
All of us have at some stage in our lives have sat keeping watch
with loved ones going through difficult times.
It may be by a hospital bed, or anxiously at home;
waiting for results of tests, or maybe exams, or news of a job.
We wait anxiously, hopefully, fearfully, or sometimes anticipating joy.
Those who have worked in schools know all about waiting for OFSTED!
Waiting, keeping vigil, can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally,
as the disciples who sat with Jesus in Gethsemane discovered.
We read that they fell asleep during the process.
Our vigil on Maundy Thursday
reminds us of the many vigils we keep in life.
But, as Jesus discovered, we never wait alone.
We read that angels came and ministered to him.
This night as we sit in vigil with our Lord, we are reminded
that in our own times of trial God comes to us
and strengthens us in our vigil, in a whole variety of ways.