When I was a child Easter meant getting a basket full chocolates, jelly beans and other treats. It meant the entire family went to mass that day and a leg of lamb awaited us for dinner. The reason for Easter, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus was an abstract idea for me. The treats in the basket were far more tangible.
My journey to understanding was a winding and varied journey. I found I was angry with God for many reasons. In the midst of my anger I still sought God but on my own terms.
I have read through the Gospels and the accounts of Jesus’ final days a few times. The moment in the garden, when he prays for this cup to be taken from him. That perhaps there could be another way, but alas there is not.
This moment is most relatable for me. The reality that he faces in this, of the inevitable to come and the desire for it to be otherwise is all too real. He seeks out God, wrestles with him even.
A reflection of my own journey to faith.
Cut to Easter Sunday almost nine years ago. I sat in service at my sister’s church. I had been attending with her for months, the word of God sinking into my heart. The pastor spoke about our need for Jesus, how the cross bridges the divide between hope and despair. When he invited us to pray to welcome Jesus into our hearts, I prayed. I prayed earnestly and submissively. Then I stood and came forward.
Again and again I back to Christ in the garden. His prayers pleading for there to be some other way. Then prayers for strength and of submission. How often have I pleaded with God, struggled to understand that it’s not my own strength but through His am I able to do anything? When I reflect on my ongoing journey, I see many moments in my garden with the Lord. I foresee many more as I go forward.
It is here in the garden where we see our Savior at his most vulnerable. His need for support from his friends, to seek comfort from his Father. It is here that Easter became tangible for me. In the garden, facing all that lie before him.
He faced it so that my sins were covered. He took on my punishment and died in order to rise again. Bringing with him the promise of eternal life. While I reflect on his prayer in the garden, I will also celebrate the Resurrection.