Passion Week Musings: The Garden Betrayal

After the Last Supper the scene moves to the Garden and the eventual betrayal. There are two main reactions to focus on during the time in the garden, Jesus action and that of the disciples. Jesus was under intense emotions and stress. He was about to undergo something that none of us can grasp. He knows he is about to die a horrid death. He knows he is to be sacrificed. He is at a moment of intense anticipation for the events ahead. So what he did was seek the father. He resisted the temptation to run or go another way. He stayed true and let his heart out toward the Father. His emotions and struggle was so intense that his body could not hold up under the emotional distress and he started sweating blood. Take you most intense emotional stress and it will not come close to the agony Jesus was experiencing. Yet, he continued to submit to the will of the father, knowing that there is no other way to redeem mankind for if there was any other way it would have happened.

Now during the period of time that Jesus is undergoing this intense emotional struggle while awaiting the betrayal the disciples were there. Jesus asked them to stand by, watch, and pray. The disciples tried to follow suit but the fell asleep. Jesus did not condemn them for their failures. He was aware that their spirits were willing, they tried to follow suit, but they could not overcome and resist the flesh. They fell asleep. He found them sleeping and the third time he did not even bother to waken them until the betrayer arrived. When the moment arrives, he declares there ongoing status of sleeping and then awakens them to let them know the time has come. As the event unfold, the disciples end up ready for a fight, Peter even gets aggressive. Jesus remains steadfast. So it is clear that in spite the teaching and preparation they did not understand. They were still focused on a conquering messiah in spite of Jesus telling them over and over he would suffer death, this may even been part of their struggle with flesh. They did not really know why they needed to watch and pray. They were confident and had faith in Jesus and were ready to fight with him. They were not ready to see the one they loved so much and put faith in turned over to suffer and die.

Today the church is not really in a different place then the disciples. We know Jesus is coming soon. We are aware of events and signs to watch for. Yet we get caught up in the cares of world. We have our goals and plans and dreams we want to accomplish or experience before His return. These very things cause is to be weak in flesh and ultimately to fall asleep. God directs us to watch, pray, and be sober. Yet, we all fall asleep. Every one of us, for ultimately we fail to fully understand and grasp what is going to happen. In our spirit we long for the return, but in our flesh it is another story, so we fall asleep. It is much better to watch and pray and stand firm, yet it does stretch our limits. Now some fellow believers focus and hope on the “Rapture” of the church, yet know this, we need to be awake. If you rest in a perception of coming safety when the world is already growing darker, it is really a form of slumber. God like the disciples gives us preparation and will direct us what we need to do to stand firm and not falter. Yet, for us often the spirit is willing but the flesh is week so we sleep in the appearance of current and coming safety. Meanwhile there is a roaring lion about looking who he may devour. There is evil going on, sometimes coordinated, sometimes just in synchronicity. If we slumber, we falter and fail to stand firm.

The Communication of Dance and Creativity: This Woman’s Work and Everything

One show that I enjoy is So You Think You Can Dance. It is a show that gives a broad spectrum of dance.  Dance is something that is an amazing form of artistic expression that can express things that words cannot.  In the past weeks show there was a particular dance that demonstrated through dance the struggle that goes on for women who have breast cancer.  Take a moment to watch the dance.

This Woman’s Work:

In praying about what to say and how to respond to this video, my mind goes several different directions.  This certainly has triggered thoughts about why suffering exists and the struggles in this world.  Questions exists as to why God heals some people and why others move to the healing of death.  Questions exist about how to reach out to those in the midst of struggle.  Yet, none of that seemed to be an appropriate fit for the power of the message communicated in that dance.  Those things will be addressed further at some point on this blog.  What seemed the best fit was to point to another message communicated in dance or drama. A couple years ago I came across a powerful dance/drama Christian presentation set to the Lifeohuse song Everything. It is a drama/dance performed in churches throughout the country.  It has a powerful message, even if it is not danced with the percision of the So You Think You Can Dance routine about breast cancer.  Take another moment to watch one version of this dance.

Everything:

Both performances are powerful means and show the importance of the use of creative measure to communicate the message.  One performance about the struggle with breast cancer. The other performance the temptations of life and answer found in Jesus.  Words cannot express either fully.  I hope both make you stop and think and ultimately grasp the intended connection that the suffering and the battles in life are also part of “everything.”  God is there in the suffering, turn not to the suffering but to Jesus.  In Jesus there is healing and victory even if your suffering brings the end of this life.