Read: Mark 14:32-42

Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? (v. 41)

Recently, I had the privilege of defending my doctoral dissertation as the final step toward earning a PhD. Due to logistics, I traveled without my family to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, rented a car, drove north to Milwaukee, checked into a hotel, and ate a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant. I can still remember that night before my defense. I was racked with anxiety, tired from the day of travel, overwrought with feelings of inadequacy . . . and alone.

Mark 14 recounts the evening before the betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion of Jesus. The weight of his impending sacrifice was unbearable, so Jesus brings Peter, James, and John to a garden in Jerusalem to be with him in his distress. Three times Jesus stepped away to pray intimately to the Father, and three times he returned to find his friends asleep. When Jesus felt perhaps most abandoned and alone, Immanuel—God with Us—had no one to be with him.

Even as we participate in the difficult work of constructing a society devoid of large, cultural injustices, let us not forget that we are also called to be present individually with those who are suffering and in need. Sometimes, the best ministry we can engage in is the ministry of presence, being with someone and sharing their distress, letting them know that they do not have to carry the burdens of life alone. —Duane Loynes

Prayer: Lord, we are grateful that you neither sleep nor slumber. Help us also to be awake for the ones you place in our lives.