‘“Abba, Father,” he said’ Mark 14.35
We have already looked at how Jesus was deeply distressed in the Garden of Gethsemane. In fact the words he used to describe the depth of the darkness that was encroaching upon him were: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”.
You may feel that you understand something of this darkness to which he was referring or know others who suffer in this way, and if so the burning question is this – what did Jesus do about it? How did he find a way out of the darkness that was settling around him? His way out is summed up by two words: “Abba, Father”.
Of course it is not the simple recitation of the words that made a difference, but rather what was conveyed as he spoke the words. In other words, in his distress Jesus came back to the relationship he had with God. He did not send a barrage of words into the darkness, but brought his prayer back to the truth (regardless of whether or not he could feel it emotionally at the time) that he was not alone because he had a Father with whom he had a loving and intimate relationship.
Our moments of darkness may be fleeting or severe, but in the midst of them let us begin to utter the same words as Jesus - “Abba, Father”. This is not a ‘magical mantra’ but is an acknowledgement of the anchor to which we are attached: we have a Father who has not forgotten us and does not condemn us for how we feel.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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