On Holy Thursday, Garrett-Evangelical looks out on the world through this detail of the Christ Window. The three disciples are sound asleep. One disciple clothed in blue with bright gold is doubled over and is lost in sleep; the second disciple is dressed in shades of blue and gold is sleeping with his folded hands beneath his head. The third disciple barely visible is just back to back with the second disciple and dressed in purple. One has to wonder what led the artist to pose these disciples in this way.
The text tells us these three are Peter, James and John. In two of the disciples we see prayer postures completely in keeping with the theme of Howes Chapel as a house of prayer. One disciple has folded his hands and rests his head in prayer; the other disciple is actually in a kneeling position. The text is clear that the task of praying with the deep intensity of Jesus was too much. It sent them into sleep, but the artist seems to tell us that this was a prayerful sleep. For most of us it is the same, is it not? A primary time of prayer for us is at night when we settle into bed and in that time of darkness as night wraps its arms around us, we surrender ourselves to the holy darkness and the trust of our LORD, and we drift off into deep, deep sleep.
One of the commitments Garrett-Evangelical makes to the world as we look through this window is that we will continue to prepare men and women for a ministry that will include the capacity to pray fervently for a needy world.
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[f]Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (Mark 14:32-42)
By Al Caldwell, Retired Faculty, editor