A Reflection for Maundy Thursday
my soul is crushed with grief;
Stay beside me and keep watch,
that I may find relief.”
Why did Jesus speak these words?
What could possibly be wrong?
We had just partaken of the Passover meal,
and celebrated with worship and song.
We followed him to the garden,
where often, alone, he would pray,
When he asked Peter James and I to join him,
I sensed his distress right away.
Jesus urged us to stay awake
while he went some distance away,
with loud cries he pleaded,
and I could hear him say:
“You who rule the heavens and the earth,
perfect in might and power;
Nothing is impossible for you God,
save me from this hour.
Why does it please you, oh Father,
that I should I drink of this bitter cup?
My strength fails me, Father,
I am compelled to give up.”
Then, Jesus nudged me gently and said,
“Could you not keep watch with me John?”
Once more, he went some distance,
and continued praying on.
As Jesus cried louder, in anguish
his sweat turned to blood;
An angel from heaven comforted him,
assured him he was the Father’s beloved.
Then I looked up at Jesus,
He was calm and at peace;
His heart was no longer in unrest
flooded with courage and ease.
Jesus approached us saying, “Are you still sleeping?
This is the time to be tested;
Here comes Judas, my betrayer,
like a criminal, to have me arrested.
The hour of darkness draws close,
Fear not, hold on to my peace;
Pray that you may not succumb to temptation,
for the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”1
1 Mat. 26:41