Comment from Ken: I hope you feel free to make a comment at the end of our walk. I am interested in your thoughts and what you might like to talk about during our walks, or who you would like to have join us. Thanks for coming to walk with me today.
36Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
(You may wish to continue reading from your own Bible to verse 46)
It’s snowing again. The ground was almost bare around our home, and now there are three inches of snow on the ground and more to come. I like us to walk together on Tuesday for that is the day I always wrote my sermons for the next Saturday night and Sunday. It was one of the few disciplines that I followed over most years of my active ministry.
There was one time when there was a Pastor’s meeting in Attleboro. It was on a Tuesday, and I did not attend. Instead of me going to the meeting, I asked my associate Jim Tedesco to attend in my place. When he arrived, some of the pastors were critical of my not attending. Jim was a loyal associate, and he spoke up defending me by telling the other ministers that I was doing what all of them should be doing – planning the weekend’s service well ahead of the time.
It was not always that way for me. At the beginning of my ministry in West Boxford, Massachusetts, I found many times that I was writing my sermon on a Saturday night. Something would have come up during the week that prevented me from writing it on Friday. I learned after a while that you never knew when there was going to be an emergency call, and you would have to respond whether your sermon was written or not. After a time, the people in the churches that I served were very respectful of that “set aside” Tuesday time unless it was a serious emergency. How much I appreciated their thoughtfulness.
So Tuesday is when I like to take my walk with you; however, I wish that we would have better weather in which to take our walk. On the other hand, you look pretty comfortable in your scarf, hat, mittens and heavy coat. How beautiful it is to walk in a snowstorm when the walk is with a friend. One of my favorite memories is walking in Slater Park in Pawtucket during a snowstorm with Dale. Oh, it was cold and the wind was blowing hard, but with a friend, a loved one, you can avoid the coldness of the weather with the warmth of love.
I hope the beginning of your week has gone well – mine has been quite busy. There were several errands to do before this storm, and Dale had to work – so it was up to me to take care of the things we needed. One of the things I did yesterday was put together a roof rake. Here in Hopkinton, some of our neighbors rake the edge of their roofs to prevent ice dams. I tease Dale that I purchased it for her, but, in all honesty, I have to watch quite carefully what activities I pursue.
Many have asked me if I do not miss the active life and the people centered life that I had living in the Attleboro area for some forty years. Of course, I miss so many people that have been a part of my life during my ministry. There are times when I certainly miss that formerly very busy life, yet there comes for all of us, no matter what the age, a time for quietness and examination of our lives energy. It is so easy for us to be caught so by a busy life that we can even forget what is most important in our daily living. We can be so tugged by those around us that we lose direction and need to focus again on what is most important in our life.
Jesus did exactly this. I am always so amazed at the life of Jesus, for in Scripture, we find that so many people pulled him in all directions. We read he cannot eat a meal in peace or in a house; why they even lowered a man down to him through the roof. So in demand was he by those physically and emotionally ill that He must have dreaded to face the day on some mornings. Now that is not unimaginable for remember He was human as well as divine. How does Jesus handle all that turmoil and hectic pace of life? He handles it by going off into silent places where He can communicate with His Father and refocus where His path is leading Him.
During Lent we focus on our lives but also on the life of our Savior. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he brings His friends with Him to be supportive of His decision of whether to stay or flee from Jerusalem, but notice He leaves His closest friends a short distance off from where He prays. So fervently He prays that sweat falls from His face like drops of blood. He wrestles with His father to find the pathway He must follow, and you and I, at times, need to do the same thing.
Yes, we need our loved ones near and our closest friends, but only we can determine the course our lives should take at times of serious decisions. We can only determine our future with the help of God.
How long has it been since you and I have separated us from the teeming pace of life to reflect upon the most important aspects of our life?
Say, why don’t you stay here under that sheltering pine tree for a moment, and while you do that, I am going up that hill a little way to talk for a moment with my Lord Jesus – I want you to be near – but I realize that any decision I must make must be according to the Father’s will. “His will be done on earth as in heaven.” If we do not talk with Him, how can we know His will for us? I’ll be back in a moment – please wait a moment – while I pray. Then maybe you would like to walk up that hill to talk with Jesus, and I will wait nearby for you.
Dear Lord, we can be come so caught up with life’s pressures that we forget that we need to look at the Savior’s decisions and how He often talked with You. Surrounded by the needs of humanity to keep His strength, He had to separate Himself from the din of the world for a moment. Help us to take those moments ourselves that our lives may be according to Your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Until our next walk – when the snow has stopped falling – “May the Lord watch between me and Thee while we are absent one from the other.”