Sing: I Stand Amazed in the Presence, UMH 371
Located within the Garden of Gethsemane is the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony. This edifice was completed in 1924 and is the third church built on this site. The main feature of this church is the rock rising through the floor in front of the altar.
It is not surprising in a country with exposed bedrock almost everywhere you look that rocks would be used as markers for many important events. This, of course, is not an ordinary rock. It is the rock on which Jesus knelt in prayer the night he was betrayed and just hours before he gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
On this rock Jesus asked his Father to take the cup of suffering from him. But like his mother, Jesus was willing to do whatever God wanted him to do. Just yesterday I was in Nazareth where Mary told Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” Now I am at the place where Jesus prayed, “But do what you want, and not what I want.” How could we not be moved as we knelt and touched this holy stone? What prayer could we utter that would express how we felt to be in this place?
“Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for being what we cannot be; thank you for doing what we cannot do. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Please help me to be just a little bit more like you.”
Just a few yards away Peter, John, and James could not keep awake and pray with Jesus. I love the fact that the Gospels show us the Apostles with their human frailties. Their weaknesses and their miss-steps give me hope that I too can be redeemed and useful to Jesus.
“Lord, forgive us and help us to be alert and pray according to your will.”