Foot Washing, Cell Phones and The Pull of Another World

"Couldn't you stay awake with me one hour?" Jesus asked his disciples in his final hours of life.

Last week as I celebrated Maundy Thursday,  the commemoration of Jesus' last supper, the passover meal, with my church community, we left the church sanctuary to wash one another's feet in an adjoining room.

As we began trickling back into the sanctuary for the rest of the service, I instinctively picked up my phone and started to check it for... what? 

I was taken aback as I heard Jesus' words, applicable to me, "Couldn't you stay awake with me one hour?" "Can't you focus on me for one hour?" "Can't you leave behind lesser things for the important thing?"

Jesus told Martha, who was stressing over meal preparation and tasks, that her sister Mary had chosen the more important thing -- to sit at his feet. 

I want that single-minded focus. I want to journey through Holy Week, from solemnity and betrayal through death and waiting to, finally, the raucous remembrance and relief that Easter always comes, that death has no sting. None. No, not really. No, not ultimately.

On Easter Sunday, I went to download a song that a friend shared. It's called simply Easter Song. And iTunes suggested instead, "Bitch Better Have My Money." I'm not sure what algorithm got me there. Maybe it's a perfectly good song; I've got nothing against Rihanna. But I was looking for Jesus. And a reminder of how he triumphs over everything. And it was a little hard to find him.

So much conspires to destroy a single-minded focus on Jesus. It's hard to stay awake even one hour. 

But it's the important thing. And as Jesus said about Mary, "it won't be taken away."