Life Notes—February 25, 2010
“And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.” Mark 14: 39-40
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James and John, his three closest and most beloved disciples. It was shortly before he would be betrayed, put on trial, and crucified for sins he never committed. It was late at night on what I picture to be a dark, starless night and his heart was heavy. He knew life was about to change dramatically—not just his life, but the lives of his followers and even our lives today. However, for the redeeming result of that change to materialize, much pain and suffering would be first endured, primarily by him. He needed to pray, but he also did not want to spend his last few hours on earth alone. He needed communion with God, but also companionship.
I was fourteen when my father died suddenly and unexpectedly and the world, as I knew it, collapsed. We were inundated by friends and family in the days to follow. Being the oldest of the four children I was the particular recipient of many well-meaning, but ultimately confounding words of “encouragement.” Men would put an arm on my shoulder and say, “Well, I guess you’re the man of the house, now.” Women would hug me tight and say, “God must really have needed your father to take him so soon.” I have long forgotten who said or did what. What I do remember, decades later, was my best friend. Dave, who lived across the street, came over later that morning and just sat with me in my room. He didn’t offer words of wisdom or perspective, he just made sure I didn’t spend those first hours as my life was unraveling alone.
Jesus needed human companionship. He was expressing his human nature, even as his divinity was about to be proclaimed for eternity. Sometimes, when our world is changing in unknown and frightening ways, what we really need is company. Seldom can we put out the fire that consumes a home. We are not gifted to bring a loved one back from death. We may not be able to fix what is wrong, but we can make certain those around us do not have to transition alone. Sometimes in our rush to “being helpful,” we forget the importance of simply “being with.”
We continue our Lenten journey this second Sunday of Lent. Kara’s sermon title is “Deserting in the Garden,” drawn from the scripture found in Mark 14: 32-44. Our church-wide Lenten study, “24 Hours That Changed the World,” continues with several Sunday morning classes and others throughout the week. Life service is at 10:45 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.
Come home to worship this Sunday! Our solitary Lenten journey need not be done alone.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator