I’ve been to Jerusalem 30 times in the last decade, and one of my favorite places to visit is the Basilica of Agony located at the bottom of the Mount of Olives long thought to be the place called the Garden of Gethsemane.
Each time I go, I spend significant time meditating on the pain Jesus went through as he prayed through the evening saying, “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) as He referenced the upcoming trial, betrayal, and crucifixion.
Last Sunday I spent time thinking about this special place as the sermon was read aloud of Jesus’ passion week. I looked up at the alter and saw an icon of Jesus on the cross, and my heart and spirit were both moved.
It was an epiphany moment, realizing again the human pain and suffering Jesus went through on the cross, taking the sins of the world on his shoulders, feeling the physical pain of execution, and knowing the spiritual pain of abandonment. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
The human-ness met the divine, and in a monumental act of sacrifice, Jesus gave up everything – for a moment.
For a moment it seemed his ministry had ended.
For a moment the disciples thought their leader may have been a fraud.
For a moment death and destruction seemed to rule the day.
For a moment all was lost.
But Sunday was on the way.
Through all the suffering and pain, disappointment and loss, Sunday was coming, and the resurrection was to become the point of miracle. The idea where death would be the end, was only a physical illusion of what God’s ultimate plan would be.
This long meditative week has given me a spiritual surge of sorts. It’s given me a vision for Washington DC where disappointment and division are the world’s illusion in Congress, and this vision of hope has rooted in my heart where God’s divine plan can meet us here. He did it then. He can do it again.
While the Congress takes a few weeks of recess, I’m working diligently to listen to God’s rhythmic message of pain and suffering as it meets the hope of resurrection. My prayer this week has been one of gratitude. I’m consistently amazed through the messy parts of life, God continues to reach out to provide hope.
My prayer this week is that you too can find hope through the messy parts of life. That you might see spiritual connection beyond the rhetoric from Washington DC, and you might see the beauty of Jesus’ message on the cross. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Furthermore, I pray that we can learn what it means to Love God and Love our Neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40)