March 29, 2018, Maundy Thursday
‘Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow the star is dimmed that lately shone;
‘tis midnight in the garden now; the suff’ring Savior prays alone.
‘Tis midnight, and from all removed, the Savior wrestles lone with fears.
E’en that disciple whom he loved heeds not his master’s grief and tears.
‘Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt, the Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
yet he that hath in anguish knelt is not forsaken by his God.
‘Tis midnight, and from ether-plains is borne the song that angels know.
Unheard by mortals are the strains that sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.
Text: William Bingham Tappan (1794-1849)
Tis Midnight and on Olive’s Brow is a beautiful telling of our Savior’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Almost 200 years old, this hymn puts us in the garden with Jesus and paints an eloquent picture of the pain he was experiencing. The rise and fall of the melody truly reflects the conflict and resolution ineach stanza.
This particular part of Christ’s Passion, the garden betrayal, always leaves me wondering what I would have done had I been one of Jesus’ disciples who was with him that night. While I want to believe that I would have stayed awake and would certainly never have denied him, there is an ache in the pit of my stomach that makes me painfully aware I most likely would have been among those who betrayed Jesus. I know this because of the many times in my life that my actions or behavior did not fully support the Gospel of Jesus. While my actions may not have delivered Jesus into the guards’ hands, they still fell well short of glorifying him.
The good news is that Jesus continued his journey to the cross without malice toward those who sent him there, and he continues to show amazing grace toward us, regardless of how often we betray him through our words or deeds.
Dear Jesus, how I wish I could say that I will never betray you. How I wish I could say that my words and actions will always be true to your Gospel. But I know me, and I know I will fall short of your glory. I look to you for guidance and wisdom and give you my never ending gratitude for your grace that knows no bounds .
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