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A question in the garden

 

You ask us to come to the garden with you while you pray.

“Stay, watch a while with me,” you say.

It’s been a long day, and we are tired, but we want to be with you, so we go.

We don’t know what you are really asking, what you will ask of each of your followers through the centuries.

You are not asking us merely to stay awake.

You ask us to stay with you, to walk by your side, to take your part in all life’s circumstances. You ask us to be with you, no matter what life brings. You invite us into your beautiful, glorious, painful, miraculous, despised, incredible life then and now the immediate ignominy of your arrest and humiliation, but also the glory to come. You want to know if we’ll go where you want us to go, meet those you place in our paths, carry your message to the farthest reaches, minister to those in need as if ministering to you and if we’ll bear it all for you, through you, with you. Because you are about to go through and to hell and back for us, if we but knew it.

In words penned by David Allan Coe, you say:

“Would you lay with me in a field of stone,

If my needs were strong, would you lay with me?

Should my lips grow dry, would you wet them, dear,

In the midnight hour, if my lips were dry?

Would you go away to another land,

Walk a thousand miles through the burning sand,

Wipe the blood away from my dying hand,

If I give myself to you?

Would you bathe with me in the stream of life

When the moon is full, will you bathe with me?

Will you still love me when I’m down and out?

In my time of trials, will you stand by me?

Would you go away to another land,

Walk a thousand miles through the burning sand,

Wipe the blood away from my dying hand,

If I give myself to you?

Would you lay with me in a field of stone?

If my needs were strong, would you lay with me?”

[“Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone),” David Allan Coe, 1973]

You ask us to come to the garden with you while you pray.

What is our answer?

What do we say?

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