Definition of “Gethsemane” in the Glossary: “Patient woe; the human yielding to the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love.”
Mary Baker Eddy
(Science and Health, p. 586;)
Gethsemane and spiritual growth
From the September 1994 issue of The Christian Science Journal
It doesn’t seem just that Jesus should have spent a long, dark night of sorrow in the garden of Gethsemane—much less been crucified. His exemplary ministry of healing had so uplifted mankind with spirituality that it could not lead him downward to defeat. But the work he accomplished in that garden was indispensable to the resurrection that followed, and holds vital relevance today to the spiritual growth of those endeavoring to obey his Christly command to heal.
Jesus did not waste time ruminating on why he was in such a predicament. His entire focus was on the prayer that relinquishes all human tendency to want merely to be relieved of the battle, and he patiently pressed on to higher demonstration of his Father’s plan of freedom and salvation for all. Human emotions one might expect to find in such an ordeal —despair, sorrow, and agony— seemed pervasive. But a deep study of the gospel accounts of the garden of Gethsemane (see Mark 14:32-42 and Matt. 26:36-46) reveals strong, uplifting, Godlike qualities that demonstrate the healing action of Christ, Truth, in the face of extreme need.
Jesus watched and prayed. No suggestion of evil, however aggressive, could pull him away from the desire to do the will of his Father, the one infinite, omnipotent God. He patiently tried to waken his disciples to their own priceless opportunity to turn the dark hours of trial to their advantage and make immense spiritual progress.
He displayed a childlike willingness to yield, completely and trustingly, to God’s will. His every effort was to understand and obey his Father. Above all, he kept alive and active the unconditional, patient love that gave him dominion over fear and the suggestion of failure. Unfaltering love, expressing the zenith of spirituality, enabled him to meet every challenge of that dark night.
But if we find ourselves facing a dark night of discord, we can learn from our Way-shower’s experience in the garden of Gethsemane how to tend our gardens. A well-tended garden doesn’t wither. It grows,even at night, and ultimately bears fruit. We can let Christ, Truth, rouse the discipleship in us. We can patiently nurture the same qualities of love and humility, faithfulness and patient persistence in siding with the power of Spirit, that brought Jesus to the resurrection. Then we will find that for every night of gloom, we can expect great spiritual growth— our own resurrection—to follow.
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