Keep Awake – A Maundy Thursday Liturgy

I wrote this litany for two voices to be used on Maundy Thursday (possibly in conjunction with the reading of Matthew 26:40-45). This is a unique way to shed light on how the disciples may have felt when they were found sleeping instead of keeping awake like Jesus had asked.

VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: These words echo in my mind as I sit in silence, staring off into the distant night sky.
VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: They repeat in my mind, rocking me back and forth, lulling me into the sleep I’m trying so hard to avoid.
VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: I hear them like a distant shout, but cannot respond. I’ve succumbed to the threat against which they warn.
VOICE 2: Could you not keep awake?
VOICE 1: I’m startled back from slumber. Guilt wracks my heart. I am determined to succeed where I’d previously failed.
VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: I see lights off in the distance and hear shouts that I cannot make out. I close my eyes to shut them out.
VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: I listen to the noise and find myself sinking into its rhythmic lilt. I still hear it in my dreams.
VOICE 2: Are you still sleeping?
VOICE 1: What have I done? I could not do as my Lord had asked and now I wake to see what has happened. My Lord told me,
VOICE 2: Keep awake.
VOICE 1: But I failed him. And now there is an army marching to find him. I have failed my Lord because I could not…
BOTH: Keep awake.

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