Teach us to Pray
Sitting on a hill, in the beginning of this gospel, Jesus taught us how to pray, giving us what we now think of as the “Lord’s Prayer” or “Our Father.” And throughout the gospel, Jesus teaches and shows us how to pray, going off by himself for silence, teaching in depth throughout the gospel on prayer, and modeling it himself.
Here, at the end, Jesus again models prayer for us, taking his pain and his emotion to God, and through it all asking that God’s will be done. It’s all going wrong, as it does in any human life. If you have not had to suffer in this life, just wait, it’s coming. All manner of terrible and horrific things happen in our lives, cancer, the death of loved ones, lost jobs and incomes, homelessness, abuse, addiction, violence. We all have our own experiences of agony. Sometimes it leads us to question God’s love.
Jesus, here, reminds us to keep our connection with God, even when we are in pain, even when the unthinkable happens, even when we must drink from a cup we would rather have pass away. Even when we would rather have relief than have to live through it. And as Jesus reminds us to pray, again and again, “Your will be done.” Because God’s will wasn’t ultimately achieved on that hill on Calvary. That was human sin. God’s will was done three days later, at an empty tomb. God’s will was, and is, love.
God of Prayer, give us courage, and remind us that you walk with us through all our Agonies, and that you continue to love us even if we cannot see it. And your will be done.
Julie Holm is the pastor of three small rural churches in central Pennsylvania, and works within both UCC and ELCA traditions.
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