Friday, August 30, 2013

Remove This Cup

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:32-42

All of us have burdens in our lives that at times are too big to bear. We feel as if we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. We pray in desperation and with anxiety to have the burden removed. And yet most often our prayers result in the strength to continue, a resolution that we did not anticipate, and the strength to rise up and face the hour.

Jesus kneels in the garden praying. The disciples, who have promised to go to the death with him, have fallen asleep. Th.ey are weak and human as we are. Jesus tried to wake them for prayer but realizes he is on his own. The weight and the burden are his alone to bear. He reaches out to God, intimately and personally, asking for an escape route. He finally turns it all over to God asking for the strength to face the days ahead. We too often beg for release. God's answer is most often the strength to face the hour ahead and an outcome we never could have imagined. We humans struggle long for answers and often chose prayer as the last resort. God invites us today to bring our burdens to the one who walked the road to Calvary, to the one who died so we might live.

Today I ask God to give me the strength to pray through all the burdens. May we offer our needs and worries to God, so that God might strengthen us to continue in our service. May we rejoice that we can talk with God and that God will bear all our burdens, carrying us through the deepest anguish. And may we remember that Jesus moved from Gethsemane to the early morning garden of resurrection and our lives are in God's hands today.

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