~ also known as
Thursday of Mysteries
. For Christians around the world, Maundy Thursday is the holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It is the day when Christ served His disciples what is commonly known as the Last Supper of Christ. As evening fell, Jesus and His disciples crossed through the Kidron Valley and climbed the Mount of Olives to enter the Garden of Gethsemane.
For most people of faith, Easter Sunday is the most holy of all days in the faith. I am grateful for the Empty Tomb, which brings the promise of resurrection and the blessed hope of reunion with loved ones who have gone before.
Others consider Good Friday as the most significant day of Holy Week. For indeed, it was the Cross which held the final sacrifice, the shed blood of the Lamb, which provides the forgiveness of sins.
~ the Thursday before Easter ~ I find myself contemplating the last night of Jesus' life. Like Him, I am drawn to
. Here in this garden on the Mount of Olives, Jesus came to wrestle with the pain and sorrow that was to come to him. Here in this place Jesus came to pour out his fear, to protest what was to be, to plead with the Father to let this cup of death pass from Him. And here, to submit to the Father's will.
Gethsemane ~ a curious place for Jesus to come the night before his crucifixion. Yet, not surprising, as so much of His teaching was filled with mystery and hidden meaning. In Hebrew, this place is called
, meaning literally an
. Here in the grove of olive trees just outside of Jerusalem was a stone press where the olives were placed on the huge stone. As another large stone was turned, the weight of that stone crushed the fruit and forced the precious oil to drain down into containers below.
~ a place to be crushed, a place to be transformed ~ is where Jesus came. Some dictionaries offer Gethsemane as a synonym for a place or occasion of great mental or spiritual suffering.
Gethsemane ~ where Jesus allowed his pleadings and protests to be transformed into submission and obedience.
Gethsemane ~ where Jesus climbed into the lap of Abba Father and found His anguish replaced with acceptance.
So often I find myself with Him in the Garden ~ thankful for the Cross and the Empty Tomb ~ but needing to linger a little while in this place, as I seek to be transformed rather than destroyed, by the events of this fallen world.
Oh, may I bring the hurts and the sorrows, the injustices and the inequities of life to this place, and may I leave transformed into an instrument of His peace.
Painting: Christ in Agony by Michael O'Brien