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?