The Lenten Bible Study is taking us through the “Passion Narrative” (the account of the arrest, trial(s), crucifixion and death of Jesus) which we hear on both Palm Sunday and Good Friday. We’re looking at the similarities and differences in the four Gospel accounts.
I had forgotten (from study decades ago) that while we normally speak of the place where Jesus went to pray after his last meal as the “Garden of Gethsemane” – in fact, Matthew and Mark never refer to the place as a “garden” and simply call it “Gethsemane.” Luke doesn’t mention it at all but simply refers to the “Mount of Olives.” John makes the reference to a garden but doesn’t give it any name.
The patron saint of this parish, John, is the master of using symbols to make a point. John’s gospel alone refers to this place as a “garden,” and much later refers to the place where Jesus will be buried as fresh new cut cave tomb (given by a disciple) that was located “in a garden.”
John wants us to know that, as he views salvation history, the story of humankind’s relationship with God began in a “garden” (called Eden), and will lead to its redemption coming out of another garden. In one garden, humans made choices that led to death. From another garden will come One who gave himself up to death “for us” so that we might share in His eternal life.
Got me to thinking on a cold snow covered “technically Spring” day that “garden” is not a bad image for what we should be: the soil that brings out / forth / up into existence that life that God planted within us from the day we were baptized. There are a zillion different sermon notes I could share or points I might make, but for now, think of yourself as the “place” where the Lord of Life has planted His life. What “life” do you bring to the world?