Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

According to scripture Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, was in such a state of anguish that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44, NRSV).  We know physiologically that ‘hematidrosis’ is a physical condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress.  Anguish…stress…can have huge impacts upon our health.

In his book Hope Against Darkness Richard Rohr writes “One would think the unexpected brings the most stress to our lives.  But psychologists say that planned change is even more disruptive than unplanned change.  Somehow things that just happen are seen as ‘acts of God.’  We can fight them, ignore them or accept them.  But we know we can’t fix them or change them, so after initial shock or even disappointment, we find the energy to deal with them.  We find the grace to rise to the occasion.  But when we think there’s some malicious or lesser mind at work, or that we could have changed it by wile or guile, we fight it, fret over it and never stop fussing, at least internally.  That’s stress.”(P. 67)

Jesus’ stress is understandable in that he, being the very Son of God, knew what was happening and saw what was coming.  But I’m not Jesus (and neither are you).  If I knew that this Thursday I was going to break my leg and there was absolutely nothing I can do to change that event, imagine the stress I would have on Wednesday.  But if I break my leg on Thursday without any knowledge that it was going to happen…Wednesday would just be another Wednesday.  Either way I would adjust to a broken leg, but the anguish/stress would be completely absent in the later example.

It seems to me that we spend way too much of our precious life ‘worrying’ and ‘fretting’ about the unknown.  We have moved away from a ‘contemplative mind’ and moved more into a ‘calculative mind’.  We have become people of stress who want to control too much of life as opposed to people who have attitudes of listening, trusting and waiting.  Rohr believes the ‘contemplative mindset’ is “the only way “to get out of the way” with our judgments, control mechanisms and personal opinions.”

That God sent us a savior in Jesus is at the core of my belief system.  Jesus came to save us from sin.  What sin?  Often, I think it is that God so desperately wants to save us from the ‘sin of ourselves’.  It is when we focus on us and our way and our opinions and our conclusions that we are closed to new possibilities found in any rescue.

“Rescue the perishing, care for dying.  Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.” (Fanny Crosby, UM Hymnal #591)

 Always Thinking…


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