Sunday, April 1, 2012

Enter the Sinkhole

Mark 14:32-36


32-34 They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, "I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me."

35-36 Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: "Papa, Father, you can—can't you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?"

We have read this a thousand times. And this week, we may read it fifty more, but for me, it is different. I read this one late afternoon last week and it dawned on me, "He didn't want to do it". If you let your imagination go a little bit and "enter the sinkhole" you may appreciate the passion week a little more and the price for salvation a little deeper.

He didn't want to do it....

To me, the struggle gets lost between the words "me" and "but". We read on like there were no bloody tears, we read on like there was no fight, no wrestling. But thousands of years before this night, the life we were supposed to live was lost in a garden and now the fight to regain that relationship was being fought in a garden that was fittingly named, "oil press".

Jesus was being squeezed. Humanity and Divinity in a grueling fight to the finish. "Papa, let this cup pass from me". You have to stop right there. Jesus, in his humanity didn't want to go through with it...and that's OK. Sometimes we paint Jesus superhuman and that is wrong. How can you appreciate His love if he was impervious to pain or even painful decisions? Sometimes we can see the pain on the cross but the painful decision is overlooked. We can't overlook this, for it is the most important decision ever made. This is where He won...this is where we win. Doesn't it make sense?

It is wonderful for me to think that Jesus didn't want to do "it". Don't we sometimes have a hard time doing "it"? This Christian life can be hard sometimes. Have you ever been drinking the warm wine of life only to wake up the next morning sipping on bitter cold reality? We rebuke it...fight it...only to realize we only need to drink all of it.

The painting to the right was done by Paul Gauguin, a contemporary of Van Gogh. According to Marilyn Bauer, in "Christ in the Garden of Olives," Gauguin portrayed himself in a tragic, iconic mode as Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. In fact, he portrayed himself in the painting and gave himself red hair, like that of Van Gogh...funny. Gauguin battled depression and bouts with suicide...maybe that's why he painted himself in the "Sinkhole". Maybe, he found a friend.

We will blog on the Good News later. Before that, Stay in the Sinkhole a little longer. Maybe we can do a better job than his favorite three who couldn't stay awake.


Donna said...

Wow, you do have a way of making people think.
Papa, let this cup pass from me." I think of all the times I've lay in bed pleading with God..."Please, Father, please change this....make the pain go away. Rescue me. Please."
Oh've got me thinking here in the "sinkhole". I want to hear this story anew!

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