God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Prayer of Distress



The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 63

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’   Mark 14:32-42
       Where do you go when it seems the world is crumbling around you? Where do you turn when your family and friends have left you on your own in the face of a situation that is overwhelming? Where do you turn when you feel alone and misunderstood? Where do you turn on the dark night of the soul, when you are questioning what is to come and feel as if hope is lost? Where do you turn in your anguish?
        Jesus' heart is breaking. He is tormented, troubled, anguished, grieving to the depths of his soul. In this distress and agitation, Jesus heads to the olive press, Gethsemane. He instructs Peter, James an John to sit and pray while he says he is grieving. He asks them to keep awake. Jesus went a little farther and threw himself down and prayed. He cries out to God, "Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want." This very human Jesus, this troubled and distressed messiah, speaks to God and asks for things to change. Don't let me be betrayed, let Judas see the light. Don't let me be denied, let Peter claim me. Don't let the rest of the twelve, run from me. He asks for the heartache that is to come to be taken away. After pouring out his trouble he says, not what I want, but what you want.  
       He then returns and find the 3 disciples sleeping. The hour is at hand, the hour he spoke of and yet instead of remaining awake, they sleep. He says, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Instead of Peter the Rock, he calls him Simon, the fisherman, the name before he followed. This man who said I will never betray you or deny you, does not even have the strength to stay awake with a friend in anguish, praying for him as asked. And while Peter speaks the right words, his actions do not follow his words. Jesus prays again saying the same words, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ Jesus faces up to this anguish with prayer. He stays awake and seeks God, while Peter and the other two sleep. The disciples eyes were heavy and they did not know what to say to Jesus. They didn't know how to face this agony and distress and so they slept.  
     He comes to them this third time, 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’  Jesus' exasperated cry "Still asleep? Still Resting? The End is far away? The Hour has Struck! Behold, the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners! Arise, let us be going. Behold, he who delivers me up is near." (Vincent Taylor, The Gospel According to Mark, New York, St Martin's, 1963, p. 557). The discipleship is collapsing around Jesus. Jesus turns to face the trouble.  
      As I was contemplating this passage, Yahweh by U2 came on my phone and these last works stuck with me.
Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, tell me now Still I'm waiting for the dawn? 
Take this city A city should be shining on a hill Take this city If it be your will What no man can own, no man can take Take this heart Take this heart Take this heart And make it break
This is the moment of heartbreak.  This is the time of darkness before... Jesus is heartbroken, the disciples are lost and the end is at hand.  There is always pain, before a child is born.  Yahweh, Yahweh.  Stay Awake.  Still waiting for the dawn. 

Prayer Practice:

I invite you to stop and watch this version of Yahweh and 40. As 40 is sung. Each of the members of U2 begins to leave. First Bono leaving a crucifix on his mike stand.  Bono stops singing but the crowd takes up the refrain. "How long to sing this song".Then Adam stops playing the bass and the crowd continues to sing, "How long to sing this song." Then The Edge stops playing, and the crowd sings "How long to sing this song." Larry and the crowd are left. He starts ups the drums and the crowd sings. "How long to sing this song." This song of lament ends with the crowd.  In this hour of anguish, in the place of this breaking heart, the crowd sings "How long."  

       

Yahweh and 40 by U2
Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Still I'm waiting for the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart 
And make it break

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