Today we remember Jesus’ Passion. This began in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he struggled in prayer with what lay ahead of him. He knew that the time had come for him to face Pontius Pilate, Herod, the Pharisees, the Chief Priests and, finally, his own torture, crucifixion and death. His time of prayer in the garden confirmed death was imminent. Jesus, knowing about his suffering, is heartbroken. His disciples also felt some of his sorrow, but it is too much for them and so they were unable to stay present to him in the Garden and fell asleep.
At times, our lives have “Garden of Gethsemane” moments. I believe many people have experienced “the garden time”. The work that I do in the townships of South Africa often leaves me with the question, “Where is God?” As I listen to people talk about their pain and sorrow, I see how we suffer like Jesus suffered. But I also see how, when we open ourselves to his suffering, our own experience of suffering is changed.
It is often when we are most hurt that we can feel most abandoned by our friends, and left alone. Our suffering may be too frightening for others to want to notice. From these experiences of suffering and brokenness we know that sometimes Jesus is the only one who can reach out to us.
How does one comfort or console a person carrying such pain? What can I offer to someone in pain or distress? When I listen to a painful story, I know that only Jesus, who understands loss, because of his own experience, can reach them.
Because we are Christians, we have the possibility of bringing our pain to Jesus in his suffering and death. In sharing our pain with Jesus something is redeemed and our own pain is lessened. Like Jesus we continue to carry the scars of our experience, but we are no longer trapped by it. Today we might notice some of our on scars, we entrust them to Jesus who too bears the scars of human pain and misery.