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Swimmers' Chapel: The Value of a Team

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Matthew 26:36-41 (NIV) "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.' Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.' Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?' he asked Peter. 'Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'"

Prior to this scene, Jesus had just finished the Last Supper with His disciples, where He predicted His upcoming betrayal and crucifixion. Understanding the weight of what lay ahead, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John (the two sons of Zebedee) a little further into the garden, leaving the rest of the disciples behind.

Feeling overwhelmed with sorrow and trouble, Jesus opens up to His three closest disciples. He shares the depth of His emotional turmoil, expressing that His soul is filled with sorrow to the point of death. He asks them to stay with Him, keeping watch as He goes to pray. Jesus desires their presence and support during this critical moment.

Moving a bit farther away, Jesus falls with His face to the ground and begins to pray to God the Father. He shares His heartfelt plea, expressing His human desire for the "cup" of suffering and anguish to be taken away from Him. However, Jesus humbly submits to God's will, stating that He ultimately wants God's plan to be fulfilled.

After pouring out His heart to God, Jesus returns to His disciples, only to find them sleeping. Disappointed and deeply saddened, Jesus directs His question specifically to Peter, asking why they couldn't stay awake and keep watch for even one hour. He urges them to watch and pray so that they do not fall into temptation, recognizing the struggle between their willing spirits and weak flesh.

How does this apply to your sport?

Jesus understood the frailty of the human spirit. He knew that His disciples, like you, faced moments when their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak. Yet, He still called them to stay awake and pray. In the same way, He calls you to stay vigilant and committed, supporting one another through prayer, encouragement and presence.

Picture this: the alarm blares at the crack of dawn, and you groggily roll out of bed, ready to take on another day of training. In those early hours, when it's easy to feel alone and discouraged, I want to remind you of something powerful. Just as Jesus sought support from His disciples, imagine how encouraging it would be to know that your teammates are right there with you, not hitting the snooze button, but awake and standing on deck, ready to move through pain barriers together.

Let's take a moment to reflect on something that applies not just to athletes, but to everyone in all areas of life. Whether it's work, family, or any other community you're a part of, the power of Christ can be at work in you, helping you be fully present and awake for the people in your life.

Just as Jesus turned to His disciples and asked them to stay awake and pray with Him, we can learn from His example. It's about being there for others, being present in their lives and supporting them in their journeys. The power of Christ within you can help you cultivate a heart that is attentive and engaged, ready to offer love, support and encouragement to those around you.

Let the power of Christ at work in you awaken your heart and inspire you to be fully present for the people and the community that surround you.

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