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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 28, 2008

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 28, 2008 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2008
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 28, 2008

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
      Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
      devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
      Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Gethsemane

      "Then Jesus went with them to a place called
      Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, 'Sit
      here while I go over there and pray.' He took
      with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and
      began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said
      to them, 'I am deeply grieved, even to death;
      remain here, and stay awake with me.' And going
      a little farther, he threw himself on the ground
      and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, let
      this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but
      what you want.' Then he came to the disciples
      and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter,
      'So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
      Stay awake and pray that you may not come into
      the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing,
      but the flesh is weak.' Again he went away for
      the second time and prayed, 'My Father, if this
      cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.'
      Again he came and found them sleeping, for their
      eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went
      away and prayed for the third time, saying the
      same words. Then he came to the disciples and
      said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking
      your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son
      of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get
      up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.'"
      Matthew 26:36-46 (NRSV)

      Jesus enters deeper and deeper into the dark night of
      his soul as he and the remaining disciples arrive at
      Gethsemane, a place many scholars believe to have
      been a secluded spot, containing some olive trees
      and perhaps even an oil press. It was a quiet place
      to rest, teach, pray, and even sleep. I personally
      find it remarkable that even Jesus needed human
      companionship and encouragement in his most vulnerable
      hours of deep anguish and fear. So he brought three
      of his closest companions among the inner circle of
      disciples, Peter, James, and John to be with him as
      he prayed. He begged them to keep watch with him.
      The three disciples tried their best, but kept
      falling asleep in their exhaustion. In urgent
      need, Jesus woke them as he desperately prayed for
      divine intervention and rescue from his fate. When
      their beloved Teacher needed them, the disciples
      failed him completely.

      It is significant that even in deepest soul agony,
      Jesus spoke to Peter and chided him for his sleepiness.
      Even in Gethsemane, Jesus offers us timeless words
      of wisdom for our own lives today. "Watch and pray
      so that you will not fall into temptation. The
      spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Matthew
      26:41 NIV).

      Through his prayer, Jesus begged God three times as
      he sought help in his dire time of need. He recoiled
      in horror of what lay ahead, fervently begging God
      for another way. He asked that the cup of suffering
      not be part of his fate. Through his brutally honest
      prayer, Jesus was able to face his future ordeal
      with strength and courage. He prayed until the
      betrayer and the large crowd armed with swords and
      clubs arrived in Gethsemane. Strengthened through
      prayer, Jesus rose up and went to greet them.

      So what does this mean for us? Through the inspiring
      example of Christ in Gethsemane, we are given freedom
      to beg God for help and mercy in our direst hours of
      need. We need prayer partners and encouragement from
      friends and through meaningful community. We need to
      watch and pray, as Peter was encouraged to do, for our
      spirit is willing but our bodies are weak. We are
      all deeply tempted to take the easy and safe way out.

      All of us will face crisis points and personal times
      of anguish and indecision in our lives. Our lives
      may feel chaotic and scattered. We may feel
      fragmented and broken with doubt and fear. Through
      his brief but poignant words spoken in Gethsemane,
      Jesus provides us with a powerful example of
      prevailing, persistent prayer when life is
      overwhelming and when we are near death.

      God, thank you for the humanness of Jesus. Help me
      watch and pray with him during the difficult times
      in life. Not my will, dear God, but yours be done
      in my life. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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