Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 7: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 107:33-43 and 108:1to 6; Evening, Psalm 33;
1st Samuel 9:15 to10:1; Acts 7:30 to 43; Luke 22:39 to 51
“He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ 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. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial:” (Luke 22: 39 to 46).
Before I ponder about these Luke verses, I just want you to know that the bracketed verses above (43 and 44) are not found in some ancient manuscripts. It doesn’t mean that angels weren’t there; it just means that some Luke accounts didn’t have it.
Having said that, my emphasis for these words is focused on Jesus’ regular round of prayer. Jesus often found a quiet place to be alone and pray. We should copy this Jesus trait. This was a Thursday evening. Jesus has just celebrated what we call the Lord’s Supper, also known as our Holy Eucharist. He is about to be arrested, beaten and then crucified.
If this situation was put before me, the option of running away would still be on the table. Perhaps prayer would still be there as well, but it would probably be prayer for a speedy escape. But our Lord Jesus had you in mind. He wanted you to be cleansed of all human sin. The sin of jealousy, and of hatred, and of prejudice, as it was shown in Judas Iscariot and the Temple authorities, and the Romans. All human sin was packaged together and saddled on Jesus as he is taken to the cross.
His response on our behalf is prayer. He prays for the strength necessary to endure because he loves us, He literally loves us to death, even death on the Cross. Maybe I wouldn’t run afterall. Afterall, dying to my mortal self is not the end of my life; Thanks be to our Lord Jesus.
Let us live in order that we might love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John