He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:39-42)
Tomorrow is the Easter observance of the Greek Orthodox Church (which follows the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar) and a significant part of this preparation is the Paschal Vigil. From sundown on Holy Saturday until daybreak on Easter morning, historically this was a time of intense prayer, reminiscent of Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane and a time during which converts to the faith were baptized and catechumens were accepted into full communion in the church. It was a time of anxious anticipation for what everyone knew was coming – the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. For Western Protestants, I wonder what our first Saturday following our Easter celebration looks like? Especially in this time when there is no such thing as “business as usual,” how are we living differently? Perhaps this is a good time for us to mirror our Eastern friends and enter again into a day of prayer and devotion.
Blessed Lord, help us not to forget. Help us not to lose the energy and excitement of Easter as we get back to our day-to-day existence. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit to remind us of who we are and whom we serve. Make us mindful, Lord. Bring to our awareness all that we have been given that we might rejoice and give thanks each and every day. Alert us to the miraculous fact that with each new dawn we may celebrate again the Easter gospel – Christ is risen indeed. Amen.