Day 38 ~ Passover Moon

34717-communion.1200w.tnIf yesterday was “silent Wednesday”, today certainly makes up for it with incredibly significant things that the Christian community remembers each year. Here in my own little corner of the world, several churches gathered together to share a meal, hear something about each of the disciples who were gathered around the table for that “last supper” and to serve the cup and bread to one another as a way to remember and connect with our early spiritual ancestors in that upper room in Jerusalem. I can’t even imagine how many times this meal we commonly refer to as communion has been shared since then, in all sorts of traditions. But no matter what that number is, tonight I’m very aware that on that night…..the “new covenant” was spoken of  by Jesus for the very first time.

After that passover meal, Jesus and some of the disciples went for a walk to a garden spot called Gethsemane, where Jesus asked them to wait while he went ahead to pray, taking Peter, James and John with him. Immediately we learn that Jesus began to be filled with sorrow and become troubled, and he clearly told the three with him that his “soul [was] very sorrowful, even to death;” and to “remain here, and watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38) And being the sensitive, loyal friends and followers that they were, they of course sat at attention, praying fervently on behalf of Jesus and his sorrowful heart! Well…..not so much. Jesus returned and found them far from attentive in intercession – they had fallen gethsamaneasleep. Not just once. Not twice, but three times Jesus returned to them, even after asking them to wait with him. This just blows my mind…..Jesus needed them! This was one of the worst battles of his life and he was seriously trying to come to grips with what was about to happen to him, and they failed him so miserably. But we have the benefit of history….we’ve heard the story over and over again. For them, it was happening for the first time….

I hesitate to share this because it’s a very dark place that I thank God I don’t live in any longer, and it’s scary to write about, but I do feel the oh-so-familiar “nudge” that I’ve come to trust, so I’ll do my best…

Immediately following the sudden death of our son, Brett, we were in that place that many who are dealing with the passing of a loved one find themselves. There were travel arrangements to be made, a military memorial service to attend in New York, writing his obituary, then talking to three people at three newspapers and comforting them as they cry on the other end of the phone. There was the memorial service for family and friends to plan in California, shipping belongings and renting storage for when they arrived……the things that keep you moving on an invisible conveyer belt that somehow keep you in forward motion taking care of the next thing, and then the next….and then they were done.

For months I spent nearly every evening sitting outside, looking up at the night sky and wondering where my boy was. I knew he was in Heaven and wasn’t sitting on a star (though he would have loved that!) but I also knew he wasn’t here, either, and night after night I just sat….and looked up at the stars and the moon as though they would lean down and give me an answer to all of my questions. It was the lonliest I have ever felt in my entire life….I wanted so much to believe that God was good and that some day this Full-moonterrible burden wouldn’t consume every inch of my heart, but the pain was too great to even see hope. So I just kept sitting, and piling on blankets as summer turned to fall….looking at the stars and at that moon that our family had sat under countless camping trips before, looking up and admiring its light. I wondered what it looked like to Brett from wherever he was and hoped we were somehow still looking at the same moon, and it gave me some comfort to hope so.

I tell you this tremendously personal story because of something Tom said at this evening’s service. He asked everyone to take special note of the moon as they left and to remember that the moon that they are looking at is the very same moon that Jesus prayed under on this night two thousand years ago…..the same moon.

That night, under the moon, Jesus poured his heart out to his Father and practically begged that there be any other way that salvation could be brought to us, so great was his anguish. And yet, despite his sorrow and fear of what was to come not only for himself but for his disciples, he surrendered himself to God’s will and chose….he chose….the road of crucifixion out of love for us and obedience to God.

prayerWhen Jesus was praying under that full Passover moon, I imagine him looking up and wondering where God was, too. Wondering where all the heavenly hosts of angels were that could surely come to his rescue if he would just say the word. He was lonely, ya’ll…..absolutely all alone in this world in that moment, and because he was…..I know he sees me. He saw me all those nights when I sat in the backyard staring up at the night sky wondering where God was. He saw me as I struggled to keep my heart open to God’s will for my life even when I saw no hope of it myself.

Tomorrow Jesus will fight the ultimate battle and surreder his life for ours – such love is overwhelming! But tonight I’m thinking about that moon…..the same moon that Jesus in Jerusalem and Shellie in Hanford sat under and asked God for mercy. Never believe Jesus doesn’t understand your heartache! He’s been there before us and knows the way John 3-16out…..and I will forever thank Him….from the bottom of this ever-healing heart.

It’s late, but I can’t wrap up this Last Supper / Gethsamane night without taking one last look at the Passover moon….I kind of feel like it’s “our” moon in a way – yours too! A reminder that he is a savior who understands our grief and chose the path of suffering so we would live eternally once this life is done. One day I’ll get to see what’s on the other side of that moon with Brett and all those I miss who have gone ahead, but tonight I’m content to share the Passover moon with Jesus as I continue to live out this one gift of a life in whatever way he can use it.

Loving this time with you,

Shellie

Reckless Love

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

 

Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson

Reckless Love lyrics © Bethel Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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