Holy Week advances. Maundy Thursday has passed. The day marking the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples.
A few hours later in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ cried out to his Father.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Not my will, but yours, be done. Christ reciting part of the Lord’s Prayer he had given believers.
Candidly, when I’m not caught in the rhythm and ritual of chanting those words as part of the The Lord’s Prayer in church — Thy will be done sticks in my mind and throat.
In earnest prayer, Thy will be done . . . On earth as it is in heaven can be hard as my will to accept at times.
The eternal battle of human pride verses humility. The world has always celebrated rebellion, whether storming the Bastille or lying in a field in upstate New York smoking weed to Jimi Hendrix, as more heroic than submission.
What is Thy Will anyway?
Do we clump earthquakes and car accidents, heart attacks and infertility into Thy Will?
I don’t like feeling I’ve lost control over outcomes. Most people don’t.
Recently I read that readers have more satisfaction while reading a novel no matter what trials fate throws at the hero, if they know the ultimate outcome for the hero. Which means reading the last page of the book first.
A few nights ago, my husband and I stumbled upon the movie Jerry McGuire. After cleaning my face and slipping into bed, I forgot my vow to go to sleep at a decent hour.
You know the movie. Tom Cruise plays a high-strung sports agent to perfection like a Johnny Cash riff from Folsom Prison Blues.
When betrayal brings his high life crashing down, McGuire was clueless that within the next 30 minutes everything would be better than ever. Having seen the movie decades earlier, I knew McGuire would find love and career success again. Knowing “You had me at hello” followed Cruise’s wallowing in the depths of despair (and the foil of Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s Oscar performance) made watching McGuire’s meltdown all the more enjoyable.
However over two thousand years ago on Good Friday, the opposite was true.
Unlike McGuire, Christ knew how his story would end — happily ever after in reunification with the Father. Yet even with that certainty, knowing what he was to endure the next few hours, Christ pleaded with God for another way.
Not my will, but thine.
How about saying Thy Will never includes death or loss? Anything with a price higher tag than a 1972 Nova. Or more painful than being stood up for Senior Prom.
Unlike penning a screenplay, in life we can’t rearrange paragraphs, delete a death-defying climax or shorten any ordeals. Nope. No one gets through life unscathed without scars, external or internal.
At this point in my life, Thy Will be Done doesn’t make me angry like a petulant teen after parents insist upon putting a tracking app on her phone. It’s more wondering what sacrifice might entail? What pain might be endured?
The fear of a diagnosis. A financial collapse. A lightning strike frying our modem.
I’m really into pain avoidance these days. I always have been.
But funny thing about insisting on a Pain Avoidance Clause in your contract — Pain Avoidance and Hurt’s attorneys didn’t get the memo. Or unbeknownst to you, they struck a black Sharpie through that line. And if they didn’t, seems the rebellious sons of bleeps didn’t ever or won’t ever give a flying flip about messing up your world.
It all comes down to fear.
Which is why I gave up worrying for Lent. And why I am still reciting Psalm 34:3.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
Wishing you a peace-filled and meaningful end to Holy Week.
Walking the Line.