Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gethsemane and Tainted Beans

Our hymn today is #159 in the red hymnal if you’d like to sing along:

Go to dark Gethsemane, Ye that feel the Tempter’s pow’r;

Your Redeemer’s conflict see, Watch with Him one bitter hour;

Turn not from His griefs away, Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.”

I have a Maundy Thursday Lutheran confession today. Now this memory plays out in my head as having occurred on Good Friday, but since my church only held the Tenebrae service on Good Friday and did not have a meal, I’m guessing it really happened on Maundy Thursday.

We were having a fellowship meal, I’m pretty sure that followed the traditional Seder meal. Before it started, there was a too-doo in the kitchen. All the old ladies, my great-grandma included, where whispering over a crock of green beans. I think I was about 10 years old, or less, and did not fully understand all the rules to the Lutheran Seder meal/Holy Week rituals. Not sure I do now. But someone had unknowingly put bacon or ham in those green beans. This was a big No No! I learned that night. I recall five ladies, who were surely members of the Ruth Guild with my grandma, all standing over those green beans, diligently picking out every scrap of pork, so that they could still be served. I didn’t eat them. I was sure some sort of wrath would come from eating the tainted green beans. Of course, I never told anyone either about the pork. Until now! So to all of you who may have been at that fellowship meal some 23 years ago, sorry, but you ate tainted beans! And that’s all I have to say about that!


I’ve been thinking about the garden of Gethsemane today. Not only because I’m gardening today, but because I have trouble staying awake through my evening prayers like the disciples had on this night a couple thousand years ago. I was taught by my great-grandma, whom I called Nanna, to pray before I went to sleep. Now we never kneeled at our bedside – there wasn’t any kneeling room in her trailer, but we always said our prayers together before going to sleep.

These days, when I become even slightly horizontal, I’m lucky if my eyes stay open five minutes. I blame it on a lack of sleep that stems from having children, although our baby is five now, but that’s my story. I never caught back up. And heaven forbid I exercise, or do any kind of manual labor, or sit in the sun during the day, or I’ll be snoozing by 6:30 pm. I’m actually looking forward to the part of menopause that keeps you up at night. Maybe I’m slightly narcoleptic. Who knows!

Jesus had been telling his best friends that he was going to die. I’m sure they were confused as to what he meant exactly, but they knew it was coming and I’m sure they were worried. And worrying wears you out! I can totally empathize with their sitting down outside the garden and falling asleep when they should have been supporting their friend. I can only imagine that given similar circumstances, I would react the same way.

I hope you get a nap today, so you’ll be well-rested for church tonight. And as you attend your Seder meals or Maundy Thursday services, try to stay awake. But if you don’t, remember, you’re not alone!

“The he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’” Matthew 26: 40-41

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I fall asleep in moments after reclining. Sometimes, before I'm horizontal. I almost fell asleep the other night while the kids were praying...while I was STANDING in their room. In my defense, the 3 year old goes on and on and on about thanking God for making her foot and tongue get better. This is the same foot and tongue that she hurt in one day right before bed...two accidents about 10 minutes apart. They were better the next day and she keeps Thanking God that he made them better. This has gone on every night since then...oh, by the way...this happened back in January.


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