Reflection based on “Entering the Passion of Jesus”

Week 6 – Gethsemane: Risking Temptation

Liturgy and Design © 2019, adapted by permission.

Entering The Story




During Lent, we have taken six weeks to move through one week—the last week of Jesus’ human life. This has allowed us to expand time—to “freeze frame” important moments and dig deeper into our faith story, and our own stories. This morning marks the end of Lent and the beginning of our commemoration of Holy Week, and so let us speed up time a bit as we first remember the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Listen or sing with this song in remembrance of the entry into Jerusalemclick –> “We Are Marching”
from the The Faith We Sing Hymnal #2235b
We found our place in the parade and considered OUR place in the picture –our role as supporters of Jesus’ mission in the world.

And then we found ourselves in the midst of the chaos and throngs of people in Jerusalem for the Passover. We stopped there… suspending the action for a moment, wondering how we could join Jesus in clearing out our own lives and hearts, our own places of worship, to make them a more welcoming place for the love of God to reside fully.


We followed Jesus as he continued to teach in the city and among the people at the temple. His teachings filled our hearts as they filled those long ago, and we remembered the call to proclaim justice in the midst of injustice wherever we find it.
We joined the disciples at a table of extravagant affection and overflowing love,

and then another supper where all our assumptions about the way the world works were turned upside-down.

This week, we join Jesus in the Garden. Gethsemane is the moment when a chain of events begins that cannot be halted. Once Jesus is taken into custody, there is no going back. So we pause a moment with him in the garden just before his arrest, and we feel with him the temptations that arise when facing difficult circumstances—to run, hide, use whatever power we have to change things, fight it, perhaps even bargain with God. We walk among the sleepy disciples who just can’t grasp what is about to happen.

Sing or Read Enter, enter the story,

the place we belong.

Not just looking on,

for this is our story.

Enter the story.


Scripture References: Read Mark 14:32-52, John 18:1-11,

Ephesians 6:11-17, Matthew 22:36-38, and Luke 22:39-44
“They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’
He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he
said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going
a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour
might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me;
yet, not what I want, but what you want.’” (NRSV)


Let us picture a garden where we find Jesus. Imagine now that we are with Jesus now in Gethsemane but

this time it is us who are distressed and agitated, metaphorically throwing ourselves on the ground to pray.

Now, be open to let the story remind us that no matter what we face, or how we fail to meet the demand of

the moment, second chances are possible.


Sing or Read – Enter, come, enter the passion,

the place we belong.

Not just looking on,

for this is our passion.

Enter the passion.


A PRAYER for this week:

Here we are, Jesus.

We find ourselves alongside you in a garden of grief

for the pestilence that is sweeping this land and for the violence

so many of this world endure.

We are tired. We don’t know what to do next.

And so we sleep sometimes, hoping to awake from a bad dream.

Forgive us, O God.

Help us face this hour knowing you are always here.

You only ask the same of us…to be present, to be awake.

You entered our story through Jesus,

now help us to enter fully into the story

of your kin-dom on earth as it is in heaven.


Assurance of Pardon and Entering the Peace of Christ:
Know this:

We can open to the story and be reminded that no matter what we face,

or how we fail to meet the demand of the moment,

second chances are possible.

You are forgiven and freed, encouraged,

and loved by a God who wants you to live fully.


Listening for the Story: Ephesians 6:11-17(NRSV)

Jesus’ defense in those moments in the garden was prayer—not the sword that one of his disciples wanted to use to protect him. Prayer was his source of power—prayer that God’s will would sustain him through the next day. Jesus knows what is about to go down, and he will not use violence in these last hours. The Letter to the Ephesians offers us the alternative “armor” with which we can gird ourselves to work for what is right.

Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.”


Dwelling in the Story: (Dramatic retelling of the Scripture)

Too much wine, perhaps. Or maybe I’m so sleepy because I’m just so very tired. This week is taking its toll on me. Watching our every step, wondering when the other shoe will drop, afraid that the commotion stirred up about Jesus will result in something terrible. I’ve been on edge ever since we got here.

But oh my, that parade! Who would have thought that this man I met on the shores of my fishing spot would turn out to be three years of non-stop surprises?! The entrance into Jerusalem was more amazing than all of it combined. I felt sure that I was part of something that was going to change everything! Now I’m not so sure. Not everyone, it turned out, was so pleased about Jesus’ arrival here. And we’ve been under scrutiny for days.

Then, tonight at the table, Jesus revealed that one of us was about to hand him over. I’m noticing who is missing here in the Garden, and I’m wondering if maybe he was right. My gut turns over with the thought of it. I do not want to face that these people who have become my family could turn against one another under pressure. Fear threatens our very bonds!

So why put ourselves out here in the open? I need to stay awake, keep watch! I’ve got my sword. I know Jesus told me not to bring it, but come on! All he seems to think we need to do is pray. He asked us to pray with him. Yes, I pray, I’m praying, I’ll fervently pray! But is it enough? How can God help us if soldiers arrive?

And yet… I’m so sleepy.


Sing or ReadEnter, enter the story, the place we belong.

Not just looking on, for this is our story.

Enter the story.

Enter, come, enter the passion, the place we belong.

Not just looking on, for this is our passion.

Enter the passion.

Enter, enter the story.
Enter His passion..


Follow the link for a good song to sing with or just listen to – click –> Gethsemane I Only Want to Say)

by Andrew Lloyd Weber


Zooming In:

When we look at this story through the accounts in all 4 Gospels we again find differences in their retelling. In Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32 the event takes place in Gethsemane (translation – oil press). In Luke 22:39, The setting is the Mount of Olives, where one might presume olives, when harvested, were pressed for their oil. I like the imagery created by the use of both settings, Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, because this is the place where Jesus struggled or risked, temptation to escape what had been started . He was being pressed by all sides – the Pharisees who wanted him just gone, the Romans who wanted the problem of Jesus stopped, the disciples who still didn’t understand Jesus’ message, Judas who would betray him and the knowledge of what would come to fulfill the scriptures. In John’s account our story takes place where there was a garden, “across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden” John 18-1. Combining where all of this took place from the 4 Gospel accounts, we get the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus knew what was coming and He turned those whom he was closest to and asked them to pray they would not give in to temptation while waiting with him. We can just imagine the agony he experienced, when finding the disciples sleeping not once, but 3 times! Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34 tell us, “I am deeply grieved, even to death.” Luke 22:44 is even more explicit, “in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.” We can clearly see, in this story, whom Jesus turned to when he was facing temptation. He didn’t want to die; he didn’t want to experience all that he knew was coming; he prayed for it to be removed by God. And then, He added his obedience by praying not what I want but what God wants. (Mark 14:36)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus shows us how important prayer is in times of agony, distress, trouble even when we know the answer will be no. The Bible is full of examples of the crucial need for prayer; look in Psalms, Job and Jeremiah! In this story we see the need to pray for ourselves in the same way we don’t hesitate to pray for others, whenever we feel the need! Personal prayer is our source of strength, calm, assurance, forgiveness, and yes, even, the wherewithal to avoid temptations. Our personal prayers are where we need to grieve, to seek guidance, and to leave doubt, worry, fear, pride and all that separates us from the will of the Father. God wants us to share our struggles, our temptations and our obedience in personal prayer. Let us prepare our hearts now.
Sing or read these wordsTurn Your Eyes Upon Jesus from the United Methodist Hymnal #349

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full on his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will go strangely dim.

In the light of his wonder and grace.


Pray Aloud:

We remember today all who grieve, who feel that they have
no way out of their circumstances.

We mourn all who have no choice but to live with violence that threatens their lives.

We remember those who work for less violence in the world, creating protection

and possibilities of a safer existence for all people.

We remember all who are victims of violence, feeling there is nowhere to turn.

Rescue them, we pray.

We remember those who work to feed the hungry, to educate children, to provide services in a new way

as a result of Covid-19’s impact on the world.

We remember those who have lost their livelihoods

and are looking for earthly answers when, now, there are few.

We remember all who have Covid-19, pneumonia or other symptoms that may be Covid-19.

We remember anyone, who is a loved one, of someone fighting this infection and is ill,

quarantined, or has lost the fight and died.

We remember health-care workers and support staff, police, firefighters,

and essential workers, who are putting their health and safety on the line

as they risk their lives due to this global pandemic.

And now, we pray together the prayer Jesus taught the disciples

on the night he risked everything for our sake,

beginning …


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, they will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory, forever.


Sing or read these wordsTurn Your Eyes Upon Jesus from the United Methodist Hymnal #349

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full on his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will go strangely dim.

In the light of his wonder and grace.


Entering the World’s Story:

We are learning new information daily, even hourly, new facts about the Covid-19 virus; how it spreads,

who has it, where to go to be tested, what supplies are needed, how to treat it, what to do if exposed to it,

where it is spreading, who has died, etc. We are uncertain of the future, confused by the information

we are given and worried for ourselves, family and friends. Yet we want to continue our Christian journey,

serving God and others.


The disciples knew that something was changing and that Jesus was risking unrest, at least, possibly

death, with His actions. Still, they followed, risking themselves for Jesus. He told them to stay awake and

pray that they not fall into temptation. They failed because they could not stay awake but that didn’t end

their relationship with Jesus. They remained His beloved children and continued to serve him to their

own deaths. Lent is a season that points us toward our relationship with the Savior and, ultimately asks,

what we will risk for His sake?

This season we have put a frame around a bit of life we’ve sectioned off, a scene. We’ve looked long,

into a face, to see what we can see, to know what we can know.Just as we have done with the art and

story today, zoom in your focus on the art and story of your own life, especially through this week.

The Divine Artist offers us such poignant beauty each day in our stories, in the stories around us,

especially in the heartbreak, pain, joy and awe of a simple moment turned significant. That’s what

happens when we put a frame around it. We zoom in for an existential close-up and search for clues

for living this life with more attention and intention.


May you be blessed by the sacred frames

that surround the moments of your life

that you dare not miss.


Follow the link for a good song to sing or listen toclick –> Lamb of God”
from the The Faith We Sing Hymnal #2235b


With the Love of Christ, Connie Schweitzer