We know these words as the spoken word of our Saviour, which he spake on the night He was betrayed and arrested in the garden. Yet in the beginning, the Lord also walked in the garden seeking Adam so that he might confess his sin, the sin of disobedience.
Later we find our Saviour once again in the garden seeking the hour in which He would save Adam and all his children. In the garden of old, the Lord was sorrowful and said to Adam why did you hide yourself from me. The Lord knew Adam’s sin and sought him out, offering him the chance to repent. In the new garden, the Lord was sorrowful as He took upon His shoulders the sins of the world to save Adam and all his generations.
So great is the love of our God that He comes to find us, like the father of the prodigal, who ran out to meet his son when he saw that he “came to his senses” and returned home. Do we seek out our Lord? Do we keep vigil awaiting His return? Do we earnestly labor to cultivate a godly spirit, making room in our heart for Him? Who do we seek?
The world has created a new divinity, fashioned in its image and delightful to all. To this one, the deity is a black man, to that one the deity is a woman; each shapes and creates their own, building a deity that fits them. They transform a deity into something comfortable and in accord with their ideals and tastes. Where is the renunciation of the “old man”, where is the flight from sin, where is the transformation of man, moving from glory to glory? In this world, man is not sanctified, rather he is placated and deceived by the creation of his own hands. Man does not comprehend the darkness into which he has fallen. In his blindness he cannot behold the countenance of the Saviour. Man cannot believe in the possibility of his own sanctification because he rejects God and His Saints. Even if one claims to love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and yet reject God’s Saints, they reject His works and His promise that The Kingdom of Heaven is in man. If man rejects the Saints, he rejects his possibility for sanctification for this is the ultimate goal for man.
This sanctification is what we seek when we look for God. When we hear our Lord walking in the garden, do we hide in fear of the authorities who come to arrest and persecute Him, troubled that they might arrest us too? Or, do we cry out to our God, that He might adopt us as His sons – as sons of God. This is the of our transformation. This is the way of salvation – to renounce the world and put on Christ. We abandon the earthly kingdoms that surround us and seek the Kingdom of God, which is within us. The Saints knew this well and show us the way to acquiring the Kingdom.
Orthodoxy is but a thirsting for the Kingdom of Heaven, a nostalgia for Paradise and communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. But “the Kingdom of God,” the Lord said, “is within you.” (Lk.17:21) The Kingdom of God is within us; we can only meet God and come into communion with Him within ourselves, in our hearts. The Fathers teach us over and over that the battlefield is the heart and the enemy is the passion within us.
That night in the garden, the Lord beheld His Disciples for the last time and offered them these words – the same words we must hear at this Lenten season and always:
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the
flesh is weak. Mark 14:39
flesh is weak. Mark 14:39
Let us inscribe these words in our heart and be ever watchful, fleeing evil and seeking our Saviour.