Meditation on the Garden of Gethsemane
We’ve now grown used to phrases such as Shelter in Place, Self-Quarantine, and Social Distancing. They represent, for some, an increase in loneliness, an unwelcome quiet, and unshakable presence of fear. For others, more people require their love and unselfish inclusion in daily routine. I confess I don’t do well with most of it and prefer things “the way they were.” I’m unequipped to even fathom a pandemic without obsessing with worry. But what if shelter at home, self-quarantine, and social distancing = solitude, an opportunity for reflection and care-connection to those we take for granted. What if we do and think less and pray more?
Solitude is a gracious word that tells me to stand alone for a while. I’m reminded of Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane, where He drew aside to pray and confront the magnitude of evil and suffering He faced. Following is an excerpt as recorded in Matthew 26:
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.” Then he went a little farther…
Matthew goes on to tell us the disciples fell asleep. The Lord cautioned them three times to stay awake. Why? For His sake or theirs? I believe He wanted to save them from the guilt and grief of betrayal; it was one last opportunity to protect Him as friends and disciples. Jesus, so forgiving, left the garden resolved and confident of His Father’s love. I hope that this time of solitude – of sheltering in place and social distancing – will leave each of us resolute and confident in our Savior, the One who loves without reservation.
I sometimes long to be alone,
Friends tucked safely out of way.
A place where I remain unknown,
With loneliness no part to play.
Birds outside my window seat
Calm anxious mind to quiet rest.
Their melody is free and sweet,
I envy them their feathered nest.
I am the better for this space,
Free of noise and endless chatter,
My own that magnifies the pace,
And only I can mend the matter.