Not my will, but yours…
I know that I have heard these words hundreds, if not thousands of times in my life in the church. They are words of Jesus as he prays before being arrested. They are words of Jesus as his closest disciples fall asleep. However, most of the time that these words hammer through the noise of my brain, I hear them as words of surrender and resignation on the part of Jesus. Today, for whatever reason, I heard the deep seated struggle of will that is inherit in these words.
Jesus, really, really struggled to let go of his own will and follow the will of God.
I am thinking about this not so much because of some struggle of will that I have in my personal life as a member of the Jesus Revolution. I have those struggles and I probably always will but they don’t upset me all that much. Today I was struck with these words as they described the relationship between two parts of the Triune God and what that could mean for Christian unity today. In my mind, there are few things more broken in our world than the idea of Christian unity. We simply suck at getting along with one another.
I get the sense from so many people that “being one, as the Father and I are one” – the very prayer Jesus had for his followers – is something that should be simple and easy for us to accomplish. I get that sense from those who say, “Just follow the Bible and we can have unity” as well as from those who say, “Just love like Jesus loved” and we will have the unity for which Jesus prayed. I think both groups – and I can be found lurking around in either from time to time – totally miss the real struggle the Son had with the Father over this picture of unity.
What if the unity found between Father and Son, between Jesus and the God-Head, is more akin to struggle than it is to a sense of peace. (Images of Jacob wrestling in the night for a blessing come to mind.) I know that we all want peace, but that is not what Jesus infers in the Garden, on the cross or even to us. Yes, he leaves us a “peace that is not like the world gives” but perhaps that peace is what we find when we allow grace to abound with ourselves (as we struggle in ourselves) and what we find when we allow grace to abound amidst the struggles we have with those whose idea of God’s will bumps up against a difference in our hearts.
Listen…I know that this is not a completely fleshed out, well-thought bit of theology I am espousing today. It is a start to say the very least. Perhaps you can add to the discussion. Perhaps I can capture it better in another use of language too:
The battle of will
is a thumping of the heart,
a throbbing of the mind,
and a bleeding of the soul.
Or so it seems. Or so it seems.
It is a battle, a battle among thieves:
One who steals freedom in the name of holiness
One who steals holiness in the name of freedom.
But maybe, perhaps maybe…
On those days when the battle wages
within and without
with an intensity that hurls invective and certainty
like arrows into the always soft flesh of the gut –
Perhaps, just maybe,
There is another war cry
A cry that is heard
among the wounded,
and even on the lips on the silent
as they breath with Spirit Sound
the truest cry of unity.
Grace for self. Grace for others.
Grace like that offered by a Savior,
A Savior between two thieves.
©2014, Scott Sears