“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Jesus models an important way to worship God.
Jesus teaches us so much about how to experience God and various ways in which to engage God.
Throughout much of the Gospels Jesus actively engages people: people for sermons and teachings, people for rebuking, people for healing and miracles – a zillion different ways.
In doing so, Jesus is modeling how we too should actively go into our communities to be beacons of light and hope for the marginalized and the least of these. No one was a stranger to Jesus and likewise, no one should be a stranger to us either.
Equally important however, was how Jesus would retreat for times of quiet and reflection, prayer and meditation, and solitude with God.
In our Scripture reading today, Jesus knows that he has been betrayed. Jesus understands that he will be taken away to be sacrificed for us all.
Even as the Son of God, it is a heavy crown to wear. I know that many of us would not have been able to approach this end with the same love, grace, and mercy that Jesus showed everyone right up to his last breath.
Jesus retreats to be alone with God.
Not completely alone though. He asks three to come and sit apart from him to pray for his anxiety and worry. They of course fall asleep. Jesus, however, goes away to pray alone.
Jesus teaches us we need to find sacred places where we can connect with God, in addition to but also apart from our normal worship experiences.
For me, this is in nature. Apart from a Spirit-filled worship on Sunday morning, I feel most alive and connected to God’s creation when hiking, rock climbing, snowboarding, or mountain biking.
One such place for me now is Vogel Canyon. It has everything I could need to feel God’s presence – hiking and views that take your breath away. I feel deeply connected to God there and go at least once a week to talk with God in an important but different way.
I’m not sure where you experience God differently and personally. Maybe it is a rodeo, or a concert, or maybe in a movie theatre watching a movie. I’ve certainly experienced God in all those places as well.
Discover where God is speaking to you and make time to spend time with God there. Let the Holy Spirit enfold you while being where you love being the most. We need community but we also need alone tine with God as well.
Pray: Gracious God, thank you for Jesus and the important lessons taught regarding how to worship you and connect with you. You long for a relationship with us and so often we put you in particular boxes but Jesus taught us that we need to spend time alone with you. May we continue to seek you out to connect with you!
Read: Matthew 26: 36-46
Act: If you hear about someone in need just show up. Don’t wait to be invited or encouraged. Let your loved ones know you can hear there needs without being explicitly asked. It’s a powerful measure of love to show up when someone needs you the most.
Yourself: Get outside before Summer is over. The mornings and evenings are cool and perfect times to see God’s creation come to life and get to rest. If you haven’t seen a sunrise in a while, watch one. If you haven’t seen a sunset in a while, watch one. We only get so many of each and what a shame to miss that many.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
Summer Bible Studies:
Sunday - 4:00 PM
Monday - 1:00 PM
La Junta United Methodist Church
601 San Juan Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
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