Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 28th February – Second Sunday of Lent
Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Matthew 26. 43-45
In this modern era of ‘on tap’ entertainment we are not very good at being bored. As leisure time increased with the advent of labour-saving devices our commercially driven world has devised more and more ways to fill our time. You could say there is always some distraction available to keep us from being bored. So, the past year has been a huge shock to our system. No more trips out to meet friends at social events or lunch. No more trips to the theatre, cinema or concerts. No more mass sporting events. Not even a quiet coffee in a neighbour’s house. Coming to terms with being bored is not always a comfortable experience. Because once activity stops all sorts of emotions rise to the surface.
We can feel frustrated that this pandemic has happened in our lifetime or angry at the decisions made by those charged with handling the crisis. We can become introspective, looking deep into ourselves and not liking what we find there, or we can become lethargic, disengaged with the world. Such frustrations can lead to physical symptoms, headaches, tiredness, difficulty breathing and interrupted sleep patterns. Maybe we cannot sleep at our usual bedtime and then we cannot seem to get up at our usual time in the morning. Or we go to bed early exhausted from a day of doing nothing and then wake up far too early so that the day seems to drag on.
These changes in our usual behaviours can lead to a sense of guilt, but there is no need to feel guilty. We are each coping with boredom in our own way. It can seem incredible that the disciples could not keep awake in the garden after the amazing experience they had been part of at the Last Supper. Surely their minds would have been buzzing with all that Jesus had said and done. Even if that had not kept them awake the imminent danger to their lives posed by the authorities should have kept them alert.
Not at all, despite being charged with staying awake and praying with him, Jesus came back three times to find Peter, James and John sleeping. Each time he may have commented on their inability to stay awake, but he also showed that he understood – ‘the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’.
So, no matter what changes in our behaviour being bored has bought about we are not to feel guilty. Instead, we can be assured that Jesus understands our vulnerabilities which come to the surface when the normal day to day routines of our lives is stripped away. Jesus also knows and trust in our abilities to rebuild our lives when we can emerge from our isolation back into the wider world.
All my love and prayers