04182019 Maundy Thursday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Go To Dark Gethsemane”

04182019 Maundy Thursday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

April 18, 2019
“Go To Dark Gethsemane”
Sermon Audio

Tonight we begin the Triduum, the three days which begin with the liturgy of Maundy Thursday.  It truly can be said, if we look through the eyes of the disciples, tonight begins with celebration, but ends in the dark.  Let’s join our voices and become immersed in our ‘Redeemer’s conflict’ as we sing the first two stanzas of “Go to Dark Gethsemane” on this Maunday Thursday night.

1 Go to dark Gethsemane, all who feel the tempter’s pow'r; your Redeemer’s conflict see.  Watch with him one bitter hour; turn not from his griefs away; learn from Jesus Christ to pray.

2 Follow to the judgment hall, view the Lord of life arraigned; oh, the wormwood and the gall!  Oh, the pangs his soul sustained! Shun not suff'ring, shame, or loss; learn from him to bear the cross.

The disciples this very night experienced Jesus institution of the Lord’s Supper and we will celebrate this Sacrament tonight as well.  Like the disciples, we who gather here tonight, possibly do ‘feel the tempter’s pow’r’.  Yet, James Montgomery author of our hymn points out the humanity of the disciples, since even the disciples could not, ‘Watch with him one bitter hour’.  Their humanity like ours overcomes us as we ‘feel the tempter’s power’.  However, there is salvation for them and for us.  When we ‘learn from Jesus Christ to pray’ and realize that we are freed by our Savior, when we “Go to Dark Gethsemane”.

So no matter if we ‘Follow to the judgment hall’ Jesus with the disciples and ‘view the Lord of life arraigned’ salvation is ours because of the gift of grace He offers us.  No longer is there ‘bitterness’ in the ‘gall’, for He has suffered ‘the pangs his soul sustained’ so we are freed by His, ‘suff’ring, shame, or loss’ out of His love modeled for us for our salvation.  This was so we could ‘learn from him to bear the cross’ and bear each others burdens as His disciples when we willingly “Go to Dark Gethsemane”.

Let’s go to ‘Calv’ry’s mournful mountain’ as we sing the third stanza of “Go to Dark Gethsemane”.

3 Calv'ry’s mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at his feet, mark the miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete.  “It is finished!” hear him cry; learn from Jesus Christ to die.

As Richard Redhead’s haunting tune is played, it is not hard to believe that ‘God’s own sacrifice’ is ‘complete’.  So powerful is ‘Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb’ that the proper place is for we, His disciples to be ‘adoring at his feet’, because of the ‘sacrifice complete’ when the three words, ‘“It is finished!”’ is uttered when we ‘hear him cry’ signify for us that now our Savior, Jesus Christ has died.  Jesus Christ has offered us His life and sacrifice in order that salvation will be ours out of His love for us.  And no longer will ‘the miracle of time’ remove His love, because Jesus love for us never ends.

The final stanza of our hymn, bridges ‘where they laid his breathless clay’  where ‘all is solitude and gloom’ and the women who ‘Early hasten to the tomb’.  For early on that bright first morning of the week, He is not there, hence why it is asked, ‘Who has taken him away?’  But the answer isn’t of ‘solitude and gloom’, but of the fulfillment of the promise that ‘Christ is ris’n’ and death binds Him no more.  So on the day for each of us when in heaven ‘He meets our eyes’ we are invited by His gaze to a new reality.  

Our invitation from Jesus for us tonight is not to suffer a permanent death, but to learn from our loving Savior what He offers us freely.  We ask after our last breath on earth ‘Savior, teach us so to rise’ as He has, for this is the gift of eternal life He offers us out of His love for us.  And we lay claim to this tonight on this Maundy Thursday as we join our voices as one and complete the story of salvation that our hymn tells as we sing the last stanza of “Go to Dark Gethsemane”.

4 Early hasten to the tomb where they laid his breathless clay: all is solitude and gloom.  Who has taken him away? Christ is ris'n! He meets our eyes. Savior, teach us so to rise.

May we tonight look to when we will rise with our Savior believing the promise of eternal life He makes us!  AMEN!