This story, together with what happened the following day, is for me the core of the incarnation.
God fully entering into what it is to be human.
God fully partaking of our deepest darkness.
God sharing to the full our despair.
God knowing what it is to be alone in pain.
God knowing what it is to be at the end of our tether.
And that’s just Gethsemane – at Calvary, God enters the experience of utter abandonment by God.
We still experience those things.
People we love still experience those things.
Strangers on our TV screens still experience those things.
But the incarnation is God saying to us (and by “us” I mean everyone who has ever lived)
“I’ve been there – done that – got the T-shirt… and what’s more I’m still there, doing that, wearing the T-shirt because I’m in you in the shit. Most of all when the shit is in your eyes, ears, heart and you can’t see, hear, feel me – then most of all”
So today I offer you this as a token of Incarnation when it really matters:
In the soft silence
A man weeps
In the gathering gloom
His friends sleep.
Alone at the point of deepest need,
Heart breaking, yet taking a moment to plead
“Please watch with me, pray with me, do this for me.
I need you. I’m frightened. The future I see
Is deepening darkness, is pain and despair.
I, hope-giver, healer, see no hope out there
For me, as my Father now
As I ask him to take from me
This dreadful fate.
But no – it is time.
Time to drink to the dregs
From the cup I’ve been given.
For I know, though I beg
To be let off the hook,
Yet my deepest desire
Even now, now as I enter the mire
Of torture and death,
Is to do his will.
To surrender to him,
To obey him still.”
His friends sleep – he wakes them.
It’s time now – too late
To prepare for the future.
It’s here – at the gate.
Here they come with their torches,
They come with their swords
To silence the Word