Daly Office Readings for Saturday, Proper 7 Year 1
“Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.” (Luke 22:41 – 43)
I’m guessing a stone’s throw away is about thirty or so feet. It is enough when it’s dark to be far enough away from others to have some sense of privacy. Having said this, as Jesus is alone at some distance from the others, how is it then that we have his private words of his prayer? No one was close enough to hear. Anyway, he prays, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” So the humanity of Jesus asks to be relieved of the oncoming misery, suffering and death. But Jesus is willing to go through with what is coming if it is God’s will. He is teaching us that no matter what, put God’s will first. I have to confess, I have been in situations where I asked God to take away the oncoming pain. I am not so sure that in those times I was concerned about what God’s will was. I was hoping my will was God’s will. I had to discover that I am not God.
When the humanity of Jesus finished praying God responded to Jesus with an angel who gave him that necessary strength of undergo whatever was to come. My closest comparison to this is receiving an anesthetic before a dental procedure. It doesn’t prevent what is about to happen but makes it bearable. And I must remember that I am in the dentist’s chair of my own free will and accord.
Today there are those who are forced to go through tough situations. Those who must go through such ordeals need comforters. Such comforters are like the midwives to the mother-to-be. The midwife is not going to have the baby but will be a very present aid to the woman who is. This midwife metaphor is just that, a metaphor. The angel midwife can be a woman or man as was Ananias to Saul when he was blinded on the road to Damascus. The Resurrected Jesus sent Ananias to strengthen Saul so that he would become Paul. After some resistance, “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.” (Acts 9:17 – 19) Saul/Paul was given strength from a mortal midwife of sorts following the commands of Jesus.
We too are sent to school children, to the homeless, to the elderly, to the run-away’s, to the returning veterans with PTSD, to those seeking asylum, to victims of domestic violence, and many others who are praying “Lord take this cup from me.” You and I then are the angels, the anesthetic, and the midwives sent by God to strengthen those who are facing unavoidable hardships. Let’s be good angels now so that we will be good angels in eternity.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) God’s people. John+