Maundy Thursday Meditation

(Click audio button to hear the mediation with music)

Alone. Totally alone in the olive garden. Well – the disciples were around – somewhere. They’d come down the hill with him from the room in the old city where they’d celebrated Passover together. But they were tired. It had been a hectic week. The excitement of arriving in the city on Sunday – the crowds waving palm branches of and shouting hosanna.

The next day there was almost a riot in the Temple when Jesus threw out the moneychangers – the authorities didn’t like that at all. Then teaching and healing during the day, but going back out to Bethany each night. And that Passover meal – the ancient tradition – but tonight so different. Jesus taking the role of the servant and washing the disciples’ feet. And talking in riddles about bread and wine being his body and blood. Too much to take in.

Now – they were exhausted, and in the quiet of the olive garden quite naturally they fell fast asleep.

All except Jesus. He alone was awake. Praying. ‘Get me out of this. Is there no other way? This is a bitter cup – take it away, father.’

Jesus the man, the human being – just like us with all our emotions and fears. Alone – totally alone – and scared. He knew what was coming. He could have run away, gone back North to Galilee. Back to being just another travelling preacher and healer. There were lots of those around. Not a bad life really. And he’d already done a lot of good. His life was worthwhile. No way could anyone call him a failure.

What a decision – and one he had to make alone. The sleeping disciples couldn’t help him on this one. It was down to him. And what about God? Did he feel God had deserted him at this point? He said as much the next day when he used a verse from one of the Psalms on the cross: ‘My God, my God. Why have you left me alone?’

We don’t know what – if anything – God said to Jesus in the garden. But somehow he must have been given the strength to go on. His time of being alone wasn’t wasted. He wasn’t really alone – even though it might have seemed like it at the time.

This is a modern psalm written by a 62 year old lady from Somerset who – at times – had felt very much alone. She was housebound because of illness – and felt as though she was on the scrap heap of life.

I look for you, O Lord;
Because the eyes of my mind are dim I do not see you.
I see, yet I do not see, because my heart is not given to holiness.
Let me keep still a little while – then I may feel your spirit near me.

Then, oh then, I may see you in all the small things of my life;
Then my heart may know that your love is the cause of all things.
You are so near to me; you are the very breath of my being.

For you, Lord, have such patience with the small things of the earth.
In the silence, your heart whispers to my heart;
Your whispers surround my soul like clouds of gold.
You are all about me, your tenderness enfolds me like the petals of a rose.
You are forever in a moment, and time runs into the arms of eternity.

O Lord, let me walk with you all the days of my life.

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