Devotion Forty Four
Thursday April 14, 2022
Just before we began the Lenten season, we heard the story of the Transfiguration. Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray. Elijah and Moses appear. Jesus glows with light. A cloud descends. The voice of God is heard. “This is my Own, my Chosen One. Listen to him!”
When Jesus went up the mountain to pray, he took with him Peter, James, and John. And guess what happened? They fell asleep. And when they woke up, they saw the manifestations of Moses and Elijah and Jesus’ changed appearance. When they came down the mountain, they argued with the other disciples about who was greatest. Somehow, they just don’t seem to get it.
Then in the stories of the last week of Jesus’ life, there is the story of praying in the garden, Gethsemane or the Mount of Olives. It is the last night of Jesus’ life. There is the Passover dinner, the last supper, the betrayer among them, and the prediction of Peter denying Jesus three times. Jesus knows the end has come. We are told that he goes off to pray. And who does he take along? Peter, James, and John. The same trio from the Transfiguration story. And what do they do? Yup. They fall asleep. And he awakens them and asks them to pray. They fall asleep again. And again. Then later they argue about who is greatest. Really?
Jesus. You gotta love him. He never gives up. Never stops loving. Even gives his life. For these people who mess up again and again and again. But giving his life is not something that can be earned or merited. Hard for the disciples to comprehend. And hard for us in our meritocracy to comprehend. But Jesus is going to do what he is going to do. Because it is what God wants him to do. And it doesn’t really matter what we do. Because we are all beloved. As we are. Asleep or awake. That is the wildness of mercy.
The story of the end of Jesus’ life is difficult. There is so much to take in. We want to understand. But maybe the best we can do is appreciate. May we try to be grateful for the love. The love for the world. For humanity. For those dim disciples. And for us. Sleeping or waking. Through Jesus we hear, You are my own. My chosen one. Amen.