A Spiritual Journey of Poems for Passiontide and Easter
by Jeanne Kun

Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, by El Greco 1541-1614

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. 
 —Matthew 26:41

What battles you fought (and won!)
that night beneath the shadows of Gethsemane
as the trio of your close companions
slept on in ignorance and sorrow.
(Job, too, knew scant comfort
from those three friends who came 
to sit beside him in his trials.)

There your soul was tormented and twisted
like the gnarled trunks of the olive trees standing watch
(what sacred secrets they witnessed
and still keep in silver-leafed silence)
as Satan seized that opportune time
(long awaited since his failures in the wilderness) 
to test and try you once again.

Your sweat fell
(wrung and pressed from you in anguish
like the oil running down the olive press nearby),
mingled with those first drops of your blood
that was before long to run so freely from your veins.

Terror and distress 
must have taunted and mocked your resolve
and made a tight knot in your stomach
as you anticipated and recoiled 
from the pain and agony soon to come to you.

As you knelt in earnest prayer
(so full of dread, yet in determined obedience)
did you first feel
that your Father’s heart 
was as merciless and unyielding 
as the cold rock you leaned against?

And yet you won through those fearful hours
and the temptations that laid siege to you,
strengthened by an angel
(who surely trembled at the horror—and the privilege— 
of being sent on such mission)
till all that remained was to drink to the dregs
the cup you willingly took up,
now sure it was not to be removed from you,
holding fast to your Father’s will
that all (I, too) might be restored to him.

Readied now, go to receive Judas’ traitorous kiss
and greet your captors.

Copyright (c) 1998 by Jeanne Kun

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