The Garden of Gethsemane is compelling. Yes, it is still a garden and it has many olive trees and the hollyhocks were in bloom. Also, hot pink Bouganvelias that trail in huge clumps over the walls.
It helped me to see the lay of the land between the upper room, the garden and where Jesus was taken to be crucified. It was very beautiful, but it is very sobering to think about what took place there
After Jesus' last supper with his disciples, he went to pray, and he was very much alone because his disciples wouldn't stay up with him in his struggle. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:
"My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want." (Matthew 26:39)
There is one big take-away I had from the trip to Israel. I can say it in one word. Acceptance.
I cannot change anything. God can, but only as there is a willingness to allow change. Jesus would have liked to have his own way. The suffering was great. He became willing through prayer and asked for God's way not his own.
Yesterday, a friend of mine from Main Street, with whom I was doing art, expressed her dire pain concerning her sister who was near death. She couldn't be with her because she lived far away. We prayed. That was all we could do. As she was half way into her painting, she received a phone call and burst into tears. Her sister had died. Everyone in the room gathered round and humbly prayed as she cried.
As she calmed down, she said, "I knew she was going to die. I just didn't want her to." She was trying to accept this tragedy.
"I don't know what I am going to do now." She looked at me.
"Would you be willing to finish your painting?"I questioned. "You have a good start on it."
She did, and it helped her. She was comforted by those of us who have gone through the same difficult times and know the hope that is in Jesus.
Suffering is everywhere.. The wars, terrible diseases, gossip, hate, prejudice stirs up doubts concerning God's sovereignty. When you can see the archeological layers of civilizations that have ended by war and read about different generations and different kings and queens, it brings things to light.
It shouldn't surprise me that hard things are happening every day; just as it happened in ancient times. We see the turmoil come in different forms in different places. I don't want pain. I don't want turmoil or conflict. But, I can accept it and live in the middle of it, because it is just the way it is. Only God..... Only God can bring hope and the change that happens in human hearts. Hearts, changed by Jesus, express daily evidence that Jesus is alive.
"I am crucified WITH Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
(stated by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20)
God created the earth and sea
God is holy
In every cell
And around us.
My foot steps
The Holy Spirit
Not just in heaven
But here, now
A sacred temple
We are all connected to one another
And to Jerusalem
Always in the Holy of Holies
His presence in us!