Awakening Our Faith During Holy Week

“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.” – Matthew 26:40-41 (NRSVue)

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

-“Gethsemane” by Mary Oliver

Dear First United Methodist Church,

We are in the middle of the holiest week of the year when we commemorate the Passion (meaning “Suffering”) of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Week reminds us not only of the triumph of God in Jesus Christ. It also reminds of our failures and foibles as human beings. The disciples who followed Jesus the closest failed when Jesus needed them the most.

In the corner of the Rose window in the Sanctuary you can actually see the disciples sleeping while Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane. It is a reminder that even when we try to remain close to Jesus when can fall asleep in our faith due to familiarity and complacency.

During our Passover Seder, Good Friday Service, and Easter Services my prayer is that our faith might awaken to our need for a Savior and the glory of the Resurrection.

As our faith awakens, may we not fall asleep or turn away. Instead, may we rise with Christ in glory. As the hymn, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” reminds us:

Go to dark Gethsemane,
You who feel the tempter’s pow’r;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see;
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away;
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

Follow to the judgment hall;
View the Lord of life arraigned;
O the worm-wood and the gall!
O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss;
Learn of Him to bear the cross.

Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb
There’ adoring at His feet,
Mark the miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished!” Hear the cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom;
Who hath taken Him away?
Christ is ris’n! He meets our eyes:
Savior, teach us so to rise.

In the name of the Crucified, Risen, and Returning Christ,

Pastor David

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