Monday, March 30, 2015

lent // asleep in gethsemane

40 days and 40 nights. Almost come and gone. Already! 

Every year I find myself whispering that at some point. This year my whispers that turned into exclamations started last week.

Easter is near. Palm Sunday is when? A few days? Tomorrow? Nooo. Then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The Holy Triduum!!

I whispered and exclaimed all of this and more with excitement, exhaustion, joy, sadness, discouragement, and gratitude.

What have I done all season? Did I grow? Did I learn? Did I meet Him? Did I see Him when He met me as He always does? Did I say thank you?

Every year, we're called to move deeper into a season that leads us straight to His Cross only to celebrate with joy and gladness over His Resurrection.

His Cross. His Cross is everything! Do I know this? Do I really know this?

Every year on Palm Sunday we read all the ways He loved us through this Cup that He had to endure. His confidence, His obedience, His desire to keep us from harm and how obviously it hurt Him anytime any of the disciples were en route to trial, His breaking of bread and giving us the Eucharist, and so many other moments of kind love and gentle preparation twined with a pain that only His knowing heart could suffer.

Every year something different strikes me. This year, it's all that takes place in Gethsemane. 

Matthew 26: 36-46
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them,
“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying,
“My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter,
“So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again,
“My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass
without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time,
saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
Behold, the hour is at hand
when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.

Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

I'm surprised this portion hasn't struck me before. Or maybe I'm not surprised? Either way, as many times I've read it, as many times I've thought of His kindness and gentleness, I've never seen myself there as Peter or the two sons of Zebedee. But the truth is, I am them and I am them often

My lackadaisical approach to life often has me feeling as if I'm sleeping my moments away. Not seizing all the moments that I could love and serve Him through my family, friends, loved ones, and strangers alike. On and on I go, erring on the side of love but never seizing nor preparing.

In that I go on in my little ways, there are often times I easily find myself in a rut that is covered and obstructed with all the things that my easy-going self has left to the side. Those times can be paralyzing. Those times make me feel like I've been asleep through it all. And I'm sure, on some very teeny-tiny level, comparable to what Peter and the sons of Zebedee felt when they saw Judas and the large crowd nearing them after being awakened by Christ for the third time

The panic. The fear. The anxiety.

What have I been doing? Why have I not been preparing myself, praying more, or being present to all He has for me?

After spending some time on this portion of the gospel, I started to wonder if Peter and the sons of Zebedee knew what was to come. Maybe the seeds He planted in their hearts were starting to stir? Starting to make more sense?

Maybe, because they knew, sleeping the moments away seemed like an easier thing to do? Right? I'm going to go with probably not. Even still, maybe because they knew the One that they loved so deeply was about to endure an unimaginable suffering, they let their minds hide away in rest only to be awakened by Love Himself each time. Maybe?

And as Love awakened them each time with a gentle call to begin again, to stand watch, prepare, and pray, Love has met me in my 40 days. Stirring. Awakening me to prayer and fasting. Quiet and obedience. His Cross and His Resurrection. He has met me in my weakness just as He always met those who loved Him in scripture.

Get up, let us go.
Look, my betrayer is at hand.

He beckons us to enter into this week, gently and lovingly. All the while teaching us how to live through suffering and through joy in a way only He can. Helping us prepare ourselves one day at a time to know more deeply His ultimate expression of Love. Meeting us where we are and revealing to us His Truths so that we may come to more deeply understand what happened that day so long ago. 

“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”


  1. Beautiful! Ever since coming into the church 8 years ago I feel like Lent is a squandered time…a time that is set aside for me to be re-born like my conversion, and yet I can't reach that same feeling. I have such high hopes and it is frustrating to not reach them. But it is nice to remember that every day is a new chance to love Him deeper! I will be thinking of you this holy week.

    1. Thank you! One thing I'm starting to learn is that even squandered time is never truly squandered. His Resurrection and constant gentleness is great reminder of that. But I hear ya on how running towards the high can get tiring! The beautiful thing about that is, as Sister Kathleen would tell me, "How beautiful it is that you even have the grace to know that you want more. That is Him! Loving you! Pursuing you!" Thank you for thinking of me during Holy Week. There was much grace to be had and I'm grateful for that!


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