Thy Will be Done
Thy Will Be Done
Today’s sermon begins a series on the Stained Glass windows that are located in the sanctuary. This week and for the following six weeks we will look at the passages of scripture that are found on the windows and reflect on the. We look at these windows every week and often we don’t give consideration to the message they are delivering to us each week about our relationship with God.
Scripture: Luke 22: 39-44
Thy Will be Done
There is a story of two men who shared a hospital room. One man was so injured that he was unable to get up from his bed, to the point that he could not even turn his neck. His bed was located closest to the door. The other man’s bed was located close to the window.
The man who couldn’t move longed to see the world, but until he healed he was confined to his bed with nothing to see but the ceiling. As a result, he would ask the man whose bed was beside the window to describe what he saw outside.
The man whose bed was beside the window was happy to describe what was beyond the window. He told the other man that there was park located across the street with children playing. People were out walking their dogs and young lovers sat on benches lost in one another’s eyes.
Day after day the man whose bed was beside the window would describe the scene of the outside world to his roommate. This went on for several weeks until one day the man who couldn’t move woke up to discover his roommate was gone. He asked the nurse what had happened and she informed him that he had died during the night. The man was sad to lose his friend, but he decided to ask the nurse if he could have the bed beside the window. He was getting better and could begin to move his neck. He very much wanted to look out the window to see all that his friend had described.
The nurse replied of course. His bed was moved over and slowly, painfully the man turned his head to look out the window. He was surprised as he expected to see the sky and the park that lay beyond. Instead he found that he was looking at a brick wall.
Confused he asked the nurse about it, told her about all the wonderful things his friend had described. The nurse smiled and replied, “The man who was in this bed, your friend, he was blind and couldn’t have known what was beyond this window.”
We look out of them all the time, but often we don’t truly see what is there. Within this space, this sanctuary we have windows. But these windows are different, they do not afford us a view of the world around us. Instead, they provide us with a glimpse from scenes from scripture. They allow us to journey back to the time that Jesus walked the earth and experience those moments and stories.
I will tell you that to sit in this sanctuary with the lights of in the afternoon as the sun beams through the windows is a spiritual experience. A time of great peace where I feel the weight of my burdens lifted and I can sit in God’s presence.
Today and over the coming weeks we will look at many of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and we will travel to the scenes in scripture that they depict. We will start with the East wall and move our way around the sanctuary. Today we look at the window whose passage reads “not my will, but thine be done.” A passage which comes from Luke’s gospel. Jesus is in Jerusalem for Passover and soon will die on the cross. Jesus knows this and is greatly distressed, so he comes before God in prayer.
A passage which focuses on the relationship between prayer and temptation. It also echoes words that we find in the Lord’s Prayer:
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
A powerful reminder that we do seek to do God’s will in all that we do. It is in moments of temptation that we are most likely to be swayed from this. When the burden or task becomes too great it is then that we might take the easy way out or not accomplish the task.
Jesus was no stranger to temptation. We often look to the earlier temptation narratives at the beginning of his ministry and marvel at how strong Jesus was to thwart the devil. But as Jesus came towards the end he was also tempted. Tempted so far that he asked God for the cup of suffering be taken from him, but only if it should be God’s will to do so. Jesus also acknowledged that it was God’s will that needed to be done, not his own. That’s important and is often hard for us to remember and accept. We like to think that we are in charge and in a way perhaps we are. However, it is ultimately God who is our guide. It is from God that we find our path and our understanding of this comes to us through scripture.
Jesus is not impervious to temptation. Though he may have overcome Satan’s temptation earlier in the gospels, here as we come to the end, we see that Jesus needs strengthening. Jesus goes and prays, and an angel of God strengthens him. I think that’s important for us to remember in our own walk of faith. Often, we feel we can’t do it. The task is to difficult, there are too many obstacles. We doubt and falter. We try and fail.
By looking at the example of Jesus we see that prayer is the place that Jesus went when he was full of doubt. Jesus knew what was coming, he knew that his death was approaching. He knew this, he understood this, knew the implications, but he still asked God if there was another way. What are the tasks that we feel are before us, as individuals and as a community of faith, that will be difficult? What ministries, trials and temptations are in front of us that will require us to pray earnestly to see them through?
Perhaps it is a family situation that requires our attention. Maybe it is a difficult decision at work. An ethical dilemma which has arisen between friends. As a community of faith, we pray continuously that the work we do bring glory to God. That the ministry we are engaged in will bear fruit for the kingdom. Perhaps we pray that others will come to faith and join us at worship and in the work we do. Maybe we pray that we will remain faithful to the task that is before us. Whether it is part of our worship ministry or our outreach ministry. It might be that you are praying for a way to become more involved in the work of God’s kingdom. Whatever it is, pray for it earnestly and have ears to listen and a heart to hear for how God is calling you.
Even in our most difficult times we are encouraged to go to God in prayer. To ask for strength, to seek clarity and to find peace. As people who follow Jesus, we don’t just follow and emulate the ministries he took part in of healing and hospitality. But we also follow his example when it comes to our prayer life, remembering that we seek to do God’s will in all that we are and all that we do. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.