A Way of Seeing Jesus in the Garden


As I’ve said before, the visual arts gene skipped a generation in my family. I can’t draw, and the only kind of visual media I can create are very abstract works populated by stick figures. But necessity being the mother of invention, I have learned over the years that despite my failures in representational art, there are ways to express myself visually, and I learn something every time I try one. In fact, I probably learn more about myself in the visual realm, because unlike creating music, which really is my thing, I don’t know enough about visual arts to follow the rules.

Today, I want to suggest that you live into this story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in a visual way. Maybe you want to create in your own garden (if the snow has melted) a little “Gethsemane space” with plants and symbols that are meaningful to you. One year, our Lenten study at the church included the creation of a dish garden with a cross, some rocks and some grass seed. The finished gardens were lovely, especially with a little judicious trimming, and people told me that they were a reminder of their Lenten practice each day.

Perhaps you want to start a prayer shawl or a crochet project in colors that remind you of this story. Some people create a “home altar” with objects and pictures that have meaning from the story. See some from different cultures here:

HomeAltarUrbanski2 Mexican home altar 1 Mexican home altar Dia de los muertos

So read the story again (maybe out loud this time), and see what kinds of physical creations speak to you.

Matthew 26:36-46

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”


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