Prayer in a Dark Garden

Prayer in a Dark Garden - Mark 14:32-42, Holy Week

There comes a desperate time
for those of us who pray
when, thrown upon the ground,
we share his gut-wrenched cry:
“Abba, Father, for you
all things are possible:
remove this cup from me!”

Perhaps it’s not our death
or fear of coming pain
(not yet at least) we taste
and long to tip away.
Yet something in our cup
has bitterness like his:
perhaps a cruel loss,
abandoned or betrayed,
a grief that strikes like nails,
or circling piercing thoughts
that bind like crown of thorns,
or blows that bruise our souls,
make mock of who we are,
a weight that bears us down,
too weak to stumble on
towards the dreaded hill.

At such a time of prayer,
it seems the garden grows
but we are frosted bare;
it seems our sacred space
is stripped, no comfort there;
it seems that friends will sleep
and on the day be gone;
it seems that in the crowd
we are the most alone;
it seems that any kiss
might threaten to betray.
Is spirit willing then,
though flesh may still be weak?

Can we find truth to say
the climax of his prayer?
“Not what I want, O God,
but what you want will be.”
Acceptance such as that
may not be in our scope.
We bargain and accuse.
“How can a loving God
expect us to face pain
and death in such a way?”:
our anger makes refrain.

But if we could accept,
and hope that what we face
brings something that transforms,
would we find grace to drink
the cup of suffering down
held hand in hand with him,
and find the blood we shed
becomes reviving wine,
and see our brokenness
becomes his body shared,
and both walk from the tomb
to greet the coming dawn?

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