Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Awful Beauty of the Garden
By Micky Wolf
[The Agony of the Garden | Orazio Borgianni 1574-1616]
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat
became like drops of blood falling on the ground.
For Christians, there is no less a season of import and meaning than that of Lent and Holy Week, culminating in the unfolding events of Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Over the centuries, many artists have attempted to paint the Agony of the Garden. It has been said Orazio Borgianni had a temper which could rear its head from time to time in a most undesirable manner. One could wonder if that anger is reflected, in a more loving way, in his rendering of Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane.
We could have been spared the details of what transpired; the unspeakable anguish preceding the ultimate sacrifice—the blood, sweat, and tears, expelled in the agony of the darkest moments of the Gethsemane experience. And yet, the inspired writers of Scripture knew otherwise.
You, me—if we hope to experience resurrection, transformation of our broken and wounded nature into one more reflective of the God who has breathed us into being—we, too, must pass through the awful, yet beautiful agony that opens our hearts to the depth of our need for restoration and wholeness.
…the agony that reveals darkness within, but not apart from greater light
…the agony that reveals depravity, but not apart from greater compassion
…the agony that reveals selfishness, but not apart from greater grace
…the agony that reveals absence of love, but not apart from greater goodness
…the agony that reveals the abyss of aloneness, but not apart from greater intimacy
Maybe one of the most important considerations arising from Orazio’s interpretation of this event is that his emotion colors his work with an unmistakable reality of truth.
Maybe that is the hope for each of us. That we are called to be vulnerable, authentic, open, and honest.
To live a life of faith, hope, and love, that would otherwise be unrealized if we fear entering the agony, unbelieving that we will be gifted with discovering the beauty that can only be found in the darkest moments of encountering our flaws, failures, and human suffering—others and our own.
Will you enter the Garden with the One who has gone before?
How do you feel in the darkness?
Will you allow Love to enter and illuminate your heart?