I don’t know about you, but I need to breathe in that soothing fragrance today. The water is boiling, our places are set. The Jasmine leaves are in the teapot, and I’ve opened up His Love Letter to us. It’s over here on the table, come sit with me? There is this section that I keep thinking about. Look and see how He doesn’t go into detail here! But can you imagine what He must have been going through?
Can we look at it together? Just a moment, let me pour the water over the leaves…the sound of water flowing is so peaceful, don’t you think? I need peace, don’t you? There, breathe it in—take a long soothing breath…
Okay, now let’s take a look. He asks that if it’s possible, His cup be taken from Him. Don’t you ever wish what you’ve been handed could be taken from you?
His cup…you can see here, He didn’t want it. He asked that it be taken from Him as if the leaves in it were deadly. I guess they kind of were, right? Yet it’s also clear He wanted to do His Father’s will, and not his own. But it was a struggle for Him. He was so filled with sorrow. I want to ask Him about that—He said He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…
Have you ever felt that? Been faced with such brutal realities of a loved one or your own, or both? When you reached a point of desperation, disaster, or discord that unearthed you? When your feet felt paralyzed beneath you, and you were unable to move forward? Do you think Jesus doubted that the Father was able to save Him? I don’t think it was doubt. But did He feel fear? I want to ask Him, Did you feel fear, Lord?
He didn’t want to be alone. He asked His friends to stay with Him and told them His sorrow was to the point of death. Have you ever felt like closing your eyes and not waking up, like that would be a relief? I have. I’ve felt pain and fear so deeply I wanted to dissolve, to dissipate, to disappear. I have felt that death would be a comfort. And I have always felt that this made me weak…or self-indulgent. But here, in this part of His Letter, I believe He felt it too, and I finally realize, He understands me. And it’s okay. We are not abandoned in our greatest fear, our deepest sorrow or self-indulgence.
Earlier, I read back through this section and ran my hand across the Words. I don’t why. Just to feel closer to Him, I think. He was so honest about feeling overwhelmed and about admitting He needed others. He asked them to stay with Him and to help keep watch so He could fall to the ground, and pray and weep as though His own Spirit was being poured out of Him. He wanted them near.
I wonder. Didn’t they see His turmoil? Had He hidden it so perfectly that they were secure enough in His strength to abandon Him at that hour? They loved Him, but they had witnessed, over and over again, His great resilience. To them, He was all self-sufficient, and could stand alone against anyone, rise above anything, and had proven He could accomplish the impossible. They must have thought He didn’t really need them. Besides, they were exhausted. Their eyes were so heavy they closed them and slept…as He wept.
So, can you see how He understands our deepest loneliness and grief-—those humiliating gut-wrenching sobs that accompany our faces distorted in anguish? And on the other side of His turmoil, the deepest agony was yet to come: separation from His Father. He was about to go to that tree, so He could unite you and me to the Father. That was His cross. And now we have ours.
He had been all sufficient as a Leader, resilient from others perspective, but it’s right here in the Letter that He admits His need for others—His need for those He could feel safe with. That’s hard to do when you are supposed to be the strong one and people are depending on you.
But He shows us that the time for each of us to express our need for community must come. I think it is the most difficult transition in leadership.
When we do though, it’s then; we come to His table, the one He has prepared for us, and we see there are other cups set. And He says, Come, I will pour the Water. Drink your fill. And we drink together, in community, our hearts united with His, and with the Father’s. He fills the emptiness left by giving up our self-sufficiency. He loves us too much to allow us to remain in solitude. He is so honest. It’s a beautiful Love Letter. Isn’t it?