With arms stretched out towards You

Next week is Holy Week. Holy Week begins with Passion Sunday and ends with the Easter Triduum, the great Christian celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Resurrection. Reflecting on Jesus and the events of the last night and day of his life, his arrest, passion and crucifixion, we of course think of what was done to him.  But as we ponder these events we also find a man who made a choice. That choice took him into the heart of life. What was Jesus’ choice?

As the meal with his disciples came to an end on that Thursday night and after they had sung the last hymn, Jesus and his disciples went out of Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley and there on the Mount of Olives they went into the Garden of Gethsemane. This was a place that was familiar to Jesus for he had often gone there to pray, and that is what he did that night. His friends fell asleep, probably drowsy from the wine they had enjoyed at dinner, and he was left alone, alone with a sense of the danger he was in and a foreboding of what was to come. He asked God to spare him that suffering and Luke tells us that his anguish and earnest prayer were so intense that he sweated drops of blood. He could have run away. Just beyond the Mount of Olives lay the Judaean wilderness, darkness and escape. Yet he did not. He chose to remain. He chose to trust in God’s care, presence, love  –  all that he himself had taught and shown others.  His surrender to God was freely made and we are told an angel strengthened him. In his surrender he created a space where God’s Spirit was free to mould him, to shape him, strengthen and comfort him. This is how he had lived and this is what he chose in his hour of anguish. 

This is a profound and beautiful Easter message. We too are called to this surrender.

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Ms Kerry McCullough

Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator