By Tony Tench

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.         Romans 8:26

As I looked up on the walls and ceiling of our Sanctuary to see all the places where the plaster had been damaged by water and the walls had cracked and peeled away, my eye was drawn to the painting on the north wall. The face of Jesus in the painting, depicting his praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, is facing directly toward several weaknesses in the plaster that had to be re-plastered.  The patches were so obvious in the wall and there Jesus is staring right at them from the canvass.   I was struck in that scene of how thankful I am that when Jesus looks on our lives and sees all our weak spots and failures to hold and cracks and imperfections and, most of all, our sin, he is able by his grace to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine as he intercedes for us into the heart of God.

During this Lenten Season, we will make our way to Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday and there fall asleep instead of watching and praying with Jesus, as did his disciples depicted in the shadows of the Sanctuary’s painting.  May this season bring us to renewed repentance so that our spirits are awakened to the joy of God’s resurrection power working through us in the days ahead – a power that heals and forgives and that compels us to reach out to our neighbors and share the good news with them.

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