Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.
Over the lenten season a group of four friends have been connecting around scriptures related to Easter. The passage above impacted us in many ways and created a lot of dialogue. One of our friends is a spiritual director who supports pastors in the lower mainland and internationally. We were invited to imagine ourselves in the scene with Jesus in the garden, to see the disciples sleeping and Jesus’ sorrow. I was reminded both of the humanness of Jesus as well as his divine nature – both are present in the incarnation – Immanuel; God with us. The Easter narrative shows us a chosen path as Jesus walks towards death; yet the story also shows the triumphant and ultimate resurrection. In our current world people are experiencing profound pain and suffering, including the people of God in many different countries. None of it is lost on Jesus. He knows our trials and successes. These musings reminded me of the need to be open when talking with our children about troubles in the world and in our own lives. Yet, these are not discussions of despair. They are sober discussions with the understanding, as Peterson commented, “…each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life,” (43, 2000). As you think about the cross and empty tomb, may your family conversations and experiences be full of the light of Christ and the hope of the resurrection – no matter what comes your way.
David Ward, Superintendent