The Garden of Gethsemane 2012

Last year's reflections on the Garden of Gethsemane as a Liminal space are here 

and another reflection from last year on Christ's agony in the garden is here.

 Source Image of Garden of Gethsemane 

This piece takes the photograph below, unwittingly taken from the Garden of Gethsemane and links it to a great discovery and then a reflection on Christ's death and Resurrection and how this place of tears may one day be a place for rejoicing.


This is a high quality NEW video of the scenes in the Garden of Gethsemane.

(By Church of Latter Day Saints) ( It won't let me embed it.)

There was another Garden, many years before where another test of temptation had taken place. 

Maybe what Jesus felt was not just grief for the future but also grief for the past.

Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch for one hour? All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:40-41)

The Blind Boys of Alabama I Shall Not Walk Alone. Great song.

It's quite sad to think this needs saying for some people but I'll include it.

These words are by the person who uploaded the video on You Tube. 

 "Normally I don't comment on the songs I upload and let them speak for themselves, but in this case I have a thing or two to say in order to avoid unnecessary discussion. I'd imagine that many people will find it inappropriate that I coupled a clearly Christian gospel song with images of Gandhi(who was Hindu), Tiananmen-square, and other, seemingly unrelated images.

For me, this beautiful song isn't about a certain religion or gospel, but about the one thing that all the people depicted have had in common regardless of their specific religion, and which allowed them to do great deeds: Faith.

My soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death. James Tissot

The Adam Who didn’t fall asleep, but kept watch and prayed in the Garden; 

Jesus was the focus of such misunderstanding and injustice. Will it ever change ?

Botanists have determined this olive tree in the garden to be somewhere between 900-2000 years old. If the latter is true than this makes it both the oldest and only living species to witness Gospel events. 
The olive trees at the Garden of Gethsemane are also said to be among the largest in Jerusalem. 

Gethsemane sits at the base of the Mount of Olives, a steep hill that used to flourish with trees but is now crowded with tombs of a Hebrew cemetery.

Many date back to the 16th century. 

H/T to Sonyja Stark for image and facts on olive tree

I wrote this poem about the many people killed in the Spanish Civil war and left in mass graves but it applies to many other conflicts.

Sweet Spanish Olive

You are a holy tree.
Your liquid gold anointed
the heads of prophets and kings.
Your silvery green leaf
was brought to Noah by the dove,
after the flood, and so you are known
as a symbol of life and peace.
And I remember other stories
from the long shadows of the garden,
in the bloody sweat of terror in the night;
the twisted bark my hand now rests on,
in this quiet valley of content.
For before he sent the dove,
Noah sent the raven through the thunder
to hover above the muddy ground
Its keen sight pierced the darkness
then it swooped, breathless,
to scoop up the bodies from the sodden ground.
It brings me to sudden tears,
for those whose cup could not pass their lips,
whose lifeblood drained away,
or were uprooted and smothered
here in another Gethsemane,
beneath this parched grey earth.

From Richard Rohr:

"If religion is not primarily a belonging system, but is truly a transformational system, one would need, it seems to me, a very different kind of authority. One would need the guidance and conviction of one who has actually walked a journey of transformation himself or herself. 

One would need the authority of a person who can say, “I know what God does with pain. I should be blaming or bitter, but because of God and grace, I am not.” 

Not just the authority which says, “You must believe in this and you must believe in that” when often there is no evidence that the authority has ever drunk “of the cup that I must drink” as Jesus put it.
  This utterly changes the nature of all true spiritual authority. 

I will offer you a simple litmus test to determine whether a person has healthy or unhealthy religion. What do they do with their pain—even their daily little disappointments?

Do they transform their pain or do they transmit it?

 People who are practiced in transforming actual life pain, like Jesus on the cross, are the only spiritual authorities worth following. 

They know. They can lead and teach. The rest of us just talk."

Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered
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