(Day Thirty-four) Daily Lenten Devotional

Saturday, April 8th (Day Thirty-four)

Dear Lord, I pray that I may know your love for me in a deeper way as I ponder your willingness to suffer on my behalf.

The Agony in the Garden, Mark 14:32-42 or Matthew 26:36-46 or Luke 22:39-46

1. Come into God’s (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) loving presence. Feel God’s loving gaze. Offer yourself completely to God.

2. Silently sit before God for 10 minutes.

3. Read Mark 14:32-42 or Matthew 26:36-46 or Luke 22:39-46 five times very slowly. The first time, simply and reverently read it, allowing God’s word to flow over you. The second time be aware of any verse word, phrase or concept that God is revealing to you as you read. Meditate silently for several minutes what the Lord has given you. During the third reading allow a prayer to formulate in your heart and offer that prayer to God. As the Scripture is read a fourth time, allow yourself to be drawn into the biblical scene as if you are living it right now. Be aware of any physical sensations, thoughts, or emotions that may arise. Journal your experience in detail. The fifth and final reading should be a reading of unknowing. Simply rest in the mystery of God’s presence and God’s Word, peacefully and with great joy.

4. Journal important aspects of the entire experience.

Read the following. You may use it as a guide or just food for thought:

I am in the Garden of Gethsemane with several others. Jesus calls Peter, James and John to go with him. I follow. Jesus tells the three to sit, while he prays. I sit with them. Jesus walks about 30 feet away and falls to the ground. His focus is intense. It is the deepest contemplative immersion I have ever seen or heard of. There is a great sense of turmoil wrapped in an aura of peace and inners stillness. I don’t hear the familiar words of Scripture. Instead, I feel what I can only term as, an atmosphere of divine conversation. It is almost like a strategy meeting before a great battle. Like two generals comparing notes before moving forward. Maybe this is what Jesus means when he says “Thy will be done.” Not so much as reluctant surrender as much as making sure that God’s will, will be carried out. Not God saying to Jesus “Sorry Son you must die” as much as a consensus of will, with the only goal being that the mission be complete and successful, whatever the cost. I think of a Son going off to war and the Father allowing him to go. Neither wishes the Son to die, yet both are willing to enter the battle knowing that the possibility exists, and this is a risk they are willing to take out of love for their country. I look at Jesus, who is praying fervently. I feel his love for his beloved creation. I sense he is steadfastly at peace with the reality of the potential cost that his ultimate victory will entail. To fall asleep at such a time resounds of being oblivious at best and apathetic at worst; the church? I ask God how I can be more aware of the mission of the kingdom today, especially when things get tough. How can I say “Father, let your will be done” regardless of the cost. I hear the Lord say, “Gene, keep your heart focused on me, move forward with determination, trust me as your guide and I will lead you.

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