Dear Friends,

Reading about the anguish of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, I find myself wondering what I would have done were I among the group of three disciples that Jesus brought close to him and then asked them to keep watch and wait. What is behind the sleepiness of those three disciples while Jesus lay prostrate on the ground praying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will?”

In Matthew’s Gospel, three times Jesus came back and found he had to rouse Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Sensing the drama that was about to unfold, it seems one would be inclined to grow anxious and enervated rather than sleepy. Jesus says to them, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

That is how I have seen Good Friday since I was young; often a sense of dread and the suffering that is about to unfold feels palpable when I awake on that day. Then, with the gloom, I often feel exhausted. My spirit wants me to be with Jesus through the suffering of a trial, humiliation, and crucifixion, but especially after a year spent in greater isolation than I am used to, the flesh is weak.

This year, given the anxiety we have faced, sheltering in our homes, and often wondering how friends and family are faring as we have not been able to visit with loved ones, I read this psalm and realize how important it is to turn to God for comfort in dark days. And how we are called to be awake and provide that comfort for others around us in anguish. Even on the cross, Jesus spoke to his beloved disciple to encourage him to comfort and take care of his mother.

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” – John 19:26-27

I know from our teams on the ground in Haiti, Kenya, South Sudan, Zambia and Peru, that the daily challenges of the coronavirus battle continue.   There is no rest for the weary who provide needed health care to communities. I am going to offer my prayers this Good Friday for the continued strength and consolation of those on the frontlines of providing health care – here at home and around the world.

In grace and peace,

Mary Beth Powers — CEO & President, CMMB

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