“Stay with me, watch and pray”

Maunday Thursday services in Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem. April 5, 2012. CLWR/R.Granke

On the holiest night of the year, we gathered for worship in the old city of Jerusalem. Throughout the service, we worshipped in 3 languages, Arabic, English and German. Our prayers, in more languages than I could understand or count.

The theme of the service was simple and clear…stay with me, watch and pray. So were the words of Jesus to his disciples then, and to us today. The followers of Jesus at that time were challenged to be alert and stay with the plan. This of course is our story today as well.

This evening, as we processed through the old city of Jerusalem, amid the cars on narrow streets, loud music and people watching our group of 100 as we made our way to the garden of Gethsemane, there were those who watched, who prayed and sought to stay alert to God’s plan for us and for humanity. Not easy to do when there are so many distractions.

We sang, “O Lord hear our prayer”, “Dona nobis pacem”, and “Lord, listen to your children praying”.  Some took note, some even joined the procession. Even in the land called ‘holy’ one cannot assume a rightful place and the attention of the local inhabitants.

We lit candles in the garden, reminding us of Jesus, the light of the world. We heard scripture, mainly from the Gospel of Matthew, and were reminded of what took place in the garden, where “even the olive trees cried for their Lord”.

What a gift to be a part of such a gathering of believers in such a holy place, on this holiest of nights. We gather Friday, 6:30 am on the Via Dolorosa. The night is short, but profound.

Robert Granke,

CLWR Executive Director

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