Tuesday, April 3rd. Mark 14:32-42

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

 

He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”  Mark 14:32-42

 

On Thursday this week much of the Christian world will gather for worship to remember the events around this last night that Jesus spent with his disciples. 

 

We will remember Jesus’ words – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another even as I have loved you.” 

 

We will remember his words over the bread and the cup – “This is my body, given for you…This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.

 

But, strangely enough (or maybe not), there is no room in the liturgy for remembering these other words that Jesus spoke that night – “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

Those words remain true.  Our spirits might indeed be willing but our flesh is weak.  Yesterday morning I had a banana for breakfast.  I gave some thought to fasting for the rest of the day, perhaps doing that each day of Holy Week, waiting to eat until I get home or until the evening meal at church.  By 1:00 pm I was sitting in a Thai cafe close to the office with a couple of guys from church. So it goes…

 

“Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

 

These words form Jesus’ prayer.  His path was to follow God’s will, not his own desire, not the pull of heavy eyelids or the pangs of an empty stomach.

 

The service ends Thursday night by stripping the altar.  All the religious decorations are removed from the sanctuary.  All the colorful cloth, the finely polished brass, the flickering light of the candles, even the weight of the worship book and Bible.  All gone.  All stripped away.  Nothing left but an empty table and a cross. 

 

Perhaps we are remembering the words of our weakness and unwillingness.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, our flesh remains weak.  We are tired.  All we can do is cast ourselves upon the promises of your love; all we can do is thank you for doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  Set us free to do what we alone can do – take up our cross and follow you into the brokenness of this world as ambassadors of your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

2 Responses to “Tuesday, April 3rd. Mark 14:32-42”

  1. Orlin Hanson Says:

    `Thank you for keeping us a breast of Christ’s work for us.

  2. Virginia Says:

    This was very powerful. As usual I cried. Thank you once again.

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