Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ Category

I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.

 

Read Full Post »

We were still on the first day of our trip and as we walked down from the top of the Mount of Olives we paused at the Church of Mary Magdalene, an impressive Russian Orthodox church.   Easy to spot from a distance because of its seven gold-onion shaped domes.   And although it has beautiful and peaceful gardens this was not the garden we had come to the Mt of Olives to see. 

Olive Tree in Garden of Gethsemane
Olive Tree in Garden of Gethsemane

On down to the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words “gat shemanim” or olive press).   The walled garden contains eight very ancient trees many thought to be 800-900 years old, and while not witnesses to Christ’s time in the garden the way these trees grow, the roots are thought to be older still.  The largest of the trees is an impressive 18 feet plus in diameter.  The University of California carried out carbon dating tests which indicated that some of the wood may be over 2,300 years old.

The church here is the Church of the Agony, which is commonly called The Church of All Nations (because so many countries contributed to its rebuilding).   Inside the Church, in front of the alter, is a bare rock, upon which, according to tradition, Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest.   The iron wreath surrounding the rock represents the crown of thorns, and has other symbols intertwined on which people can reflect.  There was originally a church built here in the 4th century, but destroyed in 614 by the Persians.   Another church was built on the site by the Crusaders in the 12th century.   The present building was constructed to stand on the Byzantine foundations, and once again Antonio Barluzzi was the architect.   The present church was completed in 1924 and is run by the Franciscans.

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

As I sat in the church looking at the bare rock and the iron thorns that encircled it, my mind went back to the Lord’s Prayer … “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”.   Jesus had taught his disciples this prayer, now he has told them to watch him while he prays, and part of his prayer is “Father, if it be your will, take this cup from me.   Yet not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).   Although there seems to be a reluctance to face the events that are about to unfold, there is, undeniably, also a willingness – “Yet not my will but yours be done.”  There is no denying that the events that occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane that night, and afterwards, have reverberated down through the centuries.  Even those who do not believe and would claim no tie to Christianity, will find that they probably use phrases from the events that took place that night.  Phrases such as “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”  (Mt 26:52);  “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mk 14:38); “sweating drops of blood” (Lk 22:44).   They will speak of the “Judas kiss” when they are talking of betrayal.  I find it amazing, that whether people accept it or not, the story and the events of the life of Christ touch the lives of most people.   The garden may have been the place where Christ faced his intense distress, sorrow and loneliness but it was also where he received comfort and strength.  Perhaps in those times when we too face distress, sorrow and loneliness we should remember to turn to God in prayer and in accepting the Father’s will, we too will receive comfort and strength to face what lies ahead.  Perhaps when we struggle with our call, it would be good to remember Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane has experienced the same thing and in saying “Yet not my will but yours be done” was enabled to face life (and death) head on.  

Read Full Post »