Keeping Watch

When I was teaching high school, we had no scheduled chapel time. So, anything of that nature had to happen in my classroom time as the religion teacher.

Among my favorite memories of teaching are the few times that I tried to help my kids just practice silence. Nothing more. No expectations for anything much. They were such hard workers, so stressed and stretched by everything going on at school, in their lives, in their families. For five minutes, we were just quiet together. (It didn’t always work well…it’s hard to go from noisy lives to quiet.)

I couldn’t completely let go of the duties of teacher…no head-on-the-desk, eyes-closed, near-sleep for me. It’s th difficulty of leading any kind of worship…you have to facilitate, even the least-facilitated aspects.

So, I decided it was my job to keep watch. Not in the guard-dog kind of way. More in the Jesus and the disciples way. I stood, and watched and prayed for my kids while they sunk down into the quiet. I prayed that the sounds of the city would soften enough so no one would get distracted. I prayed that the kid who was fidgety could find a way to release. I prayed for kids who were driving me nuts during class.  I prayed for God to enter.

Last night, I got to keep watch again. My youth groups, junior and senior high, did a labyrinth prayer walk. During the junior highs, I was still running from place to place in the church, making sure everything was coordinated, everyone was occupied, the adult volunteers were happy, the kids were content.

But by the time the high schoolers showed up, I asked to be the one in the room with the labyrinth, keeping watch. Praying for the kids who were walking, asking for God to enter.

I wish I could just keep watch more often. The details and planning and coordinating and working and doing of youth ministry are such time-sucks. Today I have to: clean my office; rent a van; tally registrations for a retreat; make some phone calls; go through e-mails…After doing all those little tasks I feel drained and depleted. I’d rather be quiet and keep watch.

One Response to “Keeping Watch”

  1. Mary Beth Says:

    A Sabbath. God is wise.