Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Cup

And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Holy Week at Nashotah is the week that stands out above all others throughout the year.  This is what Nashotah is about.  The liturgy, the study of Jesus, contemplative prayer, and a renaissance of our spiritual journey.  Monday and Tuesday lecture studies were offered for all after evening prayer.  Last night we discussed the gospel of Mark to understand the death of Jesus.  What I would like to share with you is my thoughts on the lecture of "This Cup".  Jesus refers to his impending suffering as “this cup” (Mark 14:36; 10:38-39).  Dr. Anderson explains that the cup is a stock metaphor for God's wrath, judgement, or imposition of shame.  Some would argue that this less than heroic protest to the Father puts Jesus in a subjectively "less courageous" light than that of martyrs who are routinely portrayed as accepting their death with great pride.  Could it be that Jesus' death (the drinking of the cup) was different than theirs and he understood it so?  Jesus sweat blood in the garden this night while praying to the Father before his impeding Crucifixion.  He knew of the suffering and events of the next day.  He also knew that it was God's will not his own that could only support the prophecy.  "This is the blood of the covenant poured out for many" (14:24) This phrase identifies Jesus with the "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah 52-54.  He is to be the lamb sacrificed for us, therefore again, "it is not what I will, but what you will."  He understands this to be so.  Ethically, Jesus’ voluntary, obedient submission is the pattern for all our dealings with others and our path of discipleship.

Tonight we celebrated a Tenebrae service in a sung psalter, in the chapel.  Sitting in the choir stalls in utter darkness gives a meditative experience of the historical holy week.  The gospel words then the crescendo of the slam of the tomb to startle us into awareness of that fateful evening.  The service ends in silence, and we all make our way out in the darkness to reflect on the words of Christ's death.  In close I hope you enjoy this old hymn "Why Me, Lord" by The Gaither Vocal Band

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