One of the not-so-much-focused-on stories on Maundy Thursday is the part where Jesus goes off with His disciples to pray at the Garden. It must have been a terrible time for him, and he would have been very much distressed and emotionally disturbed. I suppose it was only natural that he wanted his closest friends with him – maybe support him or at least be with him as he struggled with the Father’s will. Yet, every time he returned he found them sleeping. In all possibility, they were probably dead tired, walking around here and there, and then there was that strange meal where Jesus behaved rather differently, washing their feet, and then talking about giving them His body and blood. For whatever reasons, they were probably exhausted. So they slept. Maybe Jesus was disappointed. Maybe he was not. But I have been thinking about this small incident between the big events of the meal and the bigger event of the cross.
Spaces. God created a space for Jesus to suffer and die. We know it was done for us – you and me. But I wonder sometimes whether we create the space to be with Him spiritually, emotionally, physically. The cross was an event 2000 years ago, yet it has ongoing blessings for you and me. Holy Week is an opportunity to create that space to be with Jesus, walking with him on that last week of his last life. The Stations of the Cross were an opportunity to carve that space out of the busyness of our day to day life and ponder a bit more about Jesus on the cross. The Tridium, the great three days, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter, are opportunities for us to create that space of fellowship with Christ and experiencing Him anew in our lives.
As our worship leader remarked, when we want to come close to Christ, everything seems to conspire against us. I believe it is also about choices. We can choose either to go about our daily lives as usual or we can choose to create space. There is really no such thing as “I must…” – it is always a matter of choices. And our choices reflect our priorities. We can choose to create space to be with Jesus because it is important to us, or we can give space to other things because those things are more important to us.
Today is Good Friday. In my home church, when I was growing up, we had Good Friday service from 12 noon to 3 pm, reflecting the hours on the cross. People used to make space by taking leave or time off from work. As our lives get more and more crowded, services began to be pushed to the evenings. Even then, we can think about the effort to come to church, fight traffic, look into the hundred and one things we really need to do, spend time with friend, watch TV or even just sleep. I wonder if we could, just this once, create that space to be with Jesus on this most important night of the year, and come to Church for Good Friday service.
I wonder if the cross is that important to us.
I wonder if we can create that space.