JESUS IN GETHSEMANE

by Anne Robertson

 

 

Why is this night different from all other nights?

How that question pierced my soul tonight.

So many times I've heard those Passover words

So many times I've been the one to say them

Never were they more true than tonight

The different night

The night different from all others in my life

The night of the end...of the beginning...

The beginning of the end...the end of the beginning

Why is this night different from all other nights?

 

A hymn, a walk into the night.

The last walk to be taken in physical comfort and ease.

And a prayer.  But prayer is so mild a word.

Jacob only wrestled with an angel.

I wrestle with God.

Jacob came away with a limp.

I will die.

I wrestle...I sweat...my heart pours out on the ground.

 

This is the last chance,

The only hope that there might be another way.

Do I have to drink this cup?

Surely the Passover wine should not be so bitter.

Did it have to be death?

Did it have to be so cruel?

Would it help?  Would anyone care?

Had anyone heard even a single word of anything I've ever said?

Do they know...really know?

I can see how much they know...they're asleep.

 

Peter, James, John...my nearest and dearest.

They couldn't bear the hour and wash it away in sleep.

Awake, friends!  How I need your eyes to show me love.

There is so much still for you to understand.

You are not ready. 

You have had glimpses, but then your understanding clouds.

You have wanted a Caesar, not a Messiah.

I am what I am.

Caesar, I am not.

Messiah, I am.

I came to serve. 

Can you serve me even for a moment?

Can you wake up?

No, precious ones.  Sleep.

I will serve you even in this.

There will be no sleep for me except in death.

Take the consolation while you can.

 

Father, see their faces.

Are they not like angels?

Angels unaware...unafraid...for now.

Father, protect them.

I, the Shepherd, must fall prey to the wolves.

Guard my sheep, dear Father.

In all their misguided ignorance,

In all their aspirations to glory,

In the golden heart at the core of each soul

They are one with me...and I with them.

Awake or asleep; understanding or dull...

I cannot leave them.  The sheep of my pasture.

They must learn to be shepherds now.

 

Father, I have never known such sorrow.

Such pain as I have never known awaits me.

I have seen them...the crucified.

They line the roads I have traveled.

Such slow agony, twisted faces of death

Watching life pass by unmoved.

Pain is bearable when you are there, Father.

But you will withdraw.

I will know not only the devastating pain of death,

But I will know the separation of sin.

In my last moment, I will be completely human

And feel what it is like to have distance between you and me.

 

How can it be?  You who are my life, my all?

I am the Savior, yet who will save me?

Forsaken?  Why?  How?  Is there no other way?

The cup is so bitter...the pain so complete.

My strength fails me.  My friends sleep.

Must I be human even to the end?

Is there no way out?

I look to the hills...Golgotha glares...from where will my help come?

 

 

Your messengers...the darkened garden is bathed with light.

Thy will be done.  Yes, I can say it now. 

The stones are bread, the water--wine.

I drink it deeply, the bitterness becoming sweetness in my stomach.

Your ways, Father, are not mine in this moment.

Your thoughts are higher.

A bruised reed you will not break.

Thy will be done.  It is music.  It is wine.

 

The angels rustle...but no angels' footfall is so heavy.

The light is now a fire.

A burning bush.

A soldier's torch.

They come.

My sheep, awake, mark the hour.

Judas...you who always dreamt of leading soldiers.

You lead them at last.

How I wish you could have understood.

A kiss?  The wine is vinegar.

A clash of swords.

Even those who hear are made deaf tonight.

Their ears fall to the ground.

All fail to understand a Messiah on a tree.

They stumble over me in the dark.

 

How this night is different from all other nights!

The ram that is caught in the bushes

Has the face of a man.


Poem 1999, Anne Robertson


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