Reflection: The Garden of Gethsemane —
Digging our roots into God
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.
The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus fell on the ground to pray, in the hours before the journey to the cross, is a beautiful garden. Olive trees, some of which are 2,000 years old, stand beautifully complex in the site where Jesus prayed these words. In fact, these very trees could have been there on that night, offering Jesus and His disciples a place for prayer.
Perhaps most fascinating about the trees was the way that many of them had grown in such unique ways that they lean heavily upon and even become intertwined with the rocks that lie beneath them. It was almost as if the trees and the rocks beneath them became one. Without the rock, the tree could no longer stand.
Like the trees, Jesus could not stand on His own in this time leading up to the crucifixion. He knew what was going to happen, and in order to continue toward it, He sought out a place to pray. He leaned heavily upon His disciples to keep watch. He desperately fell on the ground before God His Father, praying, “if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Jesus begged God to take this cup, this burden, from Him. But then, knowing what must take place, Jesus joined His will to God’s. When Jesus says “yet not what I want but what you want,” Jesus is digging His roots even deeper into the rock beneath Him — intertwining His desires with God’s will for Him.
We are called to do the same — both in times of great suffering and deep joy. We are called to lean upon each other in all of life’s journey, and to dig our roots into God our creator, joining our desires with God’s will for us, asking for guidance and strength along the way.
Creator God, the foundation of our being, help us to lean on others through all of life’s trials. Remind us of your will, and help us to intertwine our desires with your will for us, trusting that your will leads us into resurrection. Amen.
Seminarian Andrea Bates is serving as vicar at St. Armands Key Lutheran Church, Sarasota, Florida.