Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday - Our Lord Was Afraid

One of my favorite songs in recent memory is "Up On A Mountain" by The Welcome Wagon. It's a nice portrait of Christ's last night in Gethsemane when he goes to pray before he is betrayed by Judas Iscariot. He asks his most trusted apostles to come pray with him, and they can't stay awake. You can read the full account here.

Not long ago we were listening to it, and my wife pointed out the line, "Up on a mountain our LORD is afraid." She thought it odd to think of Jesus as being afraid, but he was. He begged God to find another way, and yet he ultimately submitted to the will of the Father.

It's a beautiful, tragic image of Jesus that I find comforting and inspiring in so many ways. But I think what strikes me the most is the image of Jesus Christ begging and pleading with God late at night for things to be different. He begs for comfort in the midst of fear. Anyone who has struggled with depression knows what that is like. [I should note that in Luke's version of the story, God sent an angel from heaven to strengthen him. He was not alone, even if he felt like it.]

It is Christ at his most human - he is vulnerable. The creator of the universe, the savior of the world, became man - and he was afraid. And I can relate to him. I can connect to him. And he can empathize with me because he has been afraid. He has faced the darkness. He has felt alone.

I think it's a sobering [and hopeful] image to reflect on this Maundy Thursday evening.

A Prayer For Maundy Thursday
Lord, we are afraid. We strive to find light, but all we see is darkness. We feel as if hope is dead. Send us your spirit to strengthen us. You are God who has known fear, and we pray for your empathy and your strength.

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer

"Up On A Mountain"
Words and Music: Vito Aiuto
© New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

Up on a mountain our LORD is alone
Without a family, friends, or a home
He cries – ohhh, ohhh, ohhh –
Will you stay with me?
He cries – ohhh, ohhh, ohhh –
Will you wait with me?

Up on a mountain our LORD is afraid
Carrying all the mistakes we have made
And he knew – ohh, ohh, ohh – it’s a long way down
Do you know – ohh, ohhh – he came all the way down

Up in the heavens our LORD prays for you
He sent his Spirit to carry us through
So its true – ohhh, ohhh – that you’re not alone.

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