Dear Christ Church,
Too often I want to push the cup away, unlike Jesus. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced the betrayal of a friend, excruciating execution, and cosmic loneliness as he would bear the sin and sorrows of the world on the cross. There at Gethsemane he asked his father, “if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me.” Every single one of us is presented with the cup of suffering, a cup full of loneliness, or betrayal, or guilt, or shame, anxiety in uncertain times, mental illness, disability, chronic pain, sin and addiction, broken relationships, adult children that break or hearts, aging, and the list goes on.
Every human being is presented with the cup of suffering. We have three choices:  push the cup away by getting busy, getting things done, behaviors of escape, denial, or otherwise numbing ourselves to the discomfort of the cup;  ask God to remove the cup and wait patiently for God’s deliverance (“if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me”);  drink the cup.
Option number one is sin, a form of self-rule, a distrust in our Loving Father. Options two and three are faithful responses, recognizing that God, in His own timing and wisdom, does sometimes remove the cup from us, but not always in this lifetime. We are invited by our crucified God into the fellowship of his suffering. We are conjoined to Christ, so that just as we are crucified with him, we will rise with Him to new life.
The Father did not remove the cup from His Son. Jesus drank it to the bitter end. The mother of two of Jesus’ disciples once asked Him if her sons could have a place of honor in Jesus’ kingdom and guess what he asked the sons: “Can you drink the cup?”
Dear Christ Church, can we drink the cup? I want to push it away, and too often still do, but I am learning to tilt the chalice more boldly, with the promise that in the mystery of the cross, there is life in the cup. We are making our approach to Holy Week, where we enter into a real-time walk with Christ through the events of his final week. Let’s not push the cups of our lives away. Instead let’s press into Him with radical trust and whole-hearted expectation.
Awaiting the resurrection,
PS Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend!