This is the Day…Thursday
April 22, 2021
ZzZzz, Zzz, ZzZZzz
“Then Jesus returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Matthew 26:40-41)
When I was a young boy, we rarely missed Sunday church. Occasionally, we would not make it there for Sunday School, but Mom always made sure that we were in our spot when the worship service began. And we always filled the pew. Two adults, four boys, books, drawing pads, coloring books. I am sure other church members thought we were moving in for a week.
As the years passed and the boys grew up, our pew numbers dwindled. My older brothers began to either go to church with other friends or chose not to go at all. Once they began marrying, and Dad became involved in other things, it ended up being just me and Mom on our faithful pew most Sundays. While it was sad, I enjoyed driving Mom to church and sitting with her on Sundays. It was like we were experiencing something special together.
As Mom became older, she found it more and more difficult to sit through the worship service. Not because the pews were uncomfortable, although they really were. Mom just could not stay awake! The first time I noticed her problem was one Sunday, about half-way through the preacher’s sermon, I heard this deep, grumbling snore beside me. ZzZzz, Zzz, ZzZZzz. When I looked at Mom, she was sitting straight up, with her head facing the preacher, but her eyes were shut. Her mouth had fallen open, and the snoring noise was getting louder and louder. I made sure to nudge her before the drooling began.
After church that Sunday, she went home and told my Dad what had happened. Dad always said that the cure for people sleeping in church was to get a new preacher! Thankfully, Mom found a different solution. The next Sunday, I watched Mom take a Ziplock bag out of her purse, just as the sermon was beginning. The bag had several small ice cubes inside. When Mom began feeling herself drift off, she would rub the cold ice cubes on the inside of her wrists. It was a jarring experience, but it kept here awake. That Sunday, she heard the whole message! On the way home, Mom told me, “Sometimes the Spirit is willing, but my body is weak!”
Ever found yourself disengaged during worship? Ever laid in the bed to pray and fallen asleep before Amen? It is so tempting to give in to our flesh. The flesh can take us from participants in our faith, to mere spectators or less.
Do not allow yourself to become just another spectator. Stay awake and active in your faith. Strive to experience the presence of Christ in everything you do. And if one Sunday, you find yourself drifting off, please do not get rid of the preacher! I have plenty of ice available!