The Jesus Vigil

We are approaching a horrible night. Everything turned south for Jesus on Maunday Thursday. His intent was to gather his closet companions to share a meal and to share time but in the end, everything changed. Jesus went from community to agony. It's a journey not so unfamiliar to many of us when we seek out our friends to be our solace only to find ourselves in total isolation.When Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, it became a sort of vigil. A time of watchfulness. A time of waiting. A time of looking into his own heart deeply and to hear from God. This is what a vigil is. It's a time of waiting.When the mother waits all night with her sick child...When a man waits to hear if he will get the job offer...When parents wait for a teenager to come home and it's after the curfew...When you wait to hear the results of the medical tests which you fear will not be good...I've been thinking about vigils since my pastor asked me to preach on this for our Maunday Thursday service tomorrow night. I"ll be leading our congregation at 1st Pres into a night of vigil.... a night of waiting... a time for desperate prayers.I've been able to remember four different vigils that I have experienced: the death of my mother-in-law, the night I begged God for my fourth son's life who was in the intensive care for 38 days and the doctors said, "Prepare for the worse."; the night I stayed awake all night when our first-born son was in the Iraqi war and doing convoys; and a night a couple of weeks ago when we got an unexpected bill from our contractor on work he had done on our big, red barn and there was no money to pay for it.You enter a vigil when you are over your head. The vigil reminds you that you have no control, no power, no might, no strength to change the outcome of what is looming in your mind and stirring up anxiety. Jesus entered his vigil and we must enter ours. The Jesus Vigil, however is the night we share the journey with Jesus and think through all that he was about to lose in order to gain what he could not grasp at that moment. Shortly, he would hang in suspension and that's what you do in a vigil.We hang in suspicion and wait. There in that wordless place we wait for the tenderness of God to give a peace that defies our understanding yet assuages every anxious feeling inside.Jesus, we will wait with you.By the way, join me at 1st Pres on Maunday Thursday at 7pm MT in person on on the internet at and you can view me speaking on The Jesus Vigil. I'd love your thoughts on any vigils you've witnessed that might help me with this message.This is my Lenten Journey!Stephen W. SmithPotter's