Updated: Jan 26
Redeeming Gethsemane: when the age of loneliness meets the woke church.
That’s the title for my next book I’m only now in the research stages of developing.
My premise of introduction has to do with what I consider to be the church’s original disconnect with Jesus. Not talking about the first century heresies or even the fourth century empire of Constantine, deserving as those disconnections were along with the many that have happened since. What I instead have in mind is the time when Jesus faced the loneliest night of his life. As is well documented in Gospel accounts, Jesus did a lot of praying by himself. Intentionally. Aloneness was never his problem. If anything, he may have longed for more of it under ordinary circumstances, instead of those frequent interruptions made by his needy disciples and others. But there was this one night that was different. This time he took along a few of his closest disciples to pray and be present with him.
To the garden of Gethsemane.
Because he was facing an intense time of loneliness. And loneliness breeds temptation.
We may all know the story of what happened. The disciples all fell asleep. His time of loneliness was met with a tired church. A disconnected church. Even as Jesus was himself said to be sweating blood, metaphorically speaking.
I would have no interest in writing this new book except for one thing. This was not, I feel sure, the last time this has happened. Jesus wasn’t the last person to feel intensely lonely even as the church lay asleep at the switch. The original disciples were not the last ones to become weary in well-doing even at the worst possible moment. Even today there are Gethsemane moments in the lives of many people. Perhaps especially in days like we are now living in, there is a loneliness problem that the church is sleeping through.
Perhaps Gethsemane needs to be redeemed.
And perhaps it is being redeemed especially in our own times and in the lives of today’s woke disciples. Or so I hope to find out.
So here is where I need your help.
I need a sampling of persons who find themselves on either side of this equation, and who would be willing to make contact with me for the purpose of sharing either their own story of loneliness or of wokeness. Or possibly both. I need to understand carefully what it is like for lonely persons who feel a deep sense of disconnect with a local church. And I need to understand with equal care how it is that persons within a local church have found themselves connecting with a lonely soul living out their own Gethsemane moments. I need to find redemptive role models for the Church at large.
No one mentioned within my book will be named without expressed written consent. I’m looking for stories, not identities per se.
And here’s where I need your help. If you have been on either end of this problem, your own Gethsemane side as I’m calling it based on the primary illustration of Jesus in the garden, or your own redemption side as I’m calling the connection churches make individually or collectively with others in this present age of loneliness. If you’ve not been there but can imagine that others may have, please share this posting for the sake of those with an important story to tell of their own.
The telling of such stories can happen in one of three ways as directed under the contact page of my website, www.danielkheld.com. I will accept either a written letter sent by snail mail, an email, or a phone call. I will not rule out a face to face meeting upon another’s request, but it would need to be in a public garden for complete mutual safety. Those stories accepted will then lead to a written contract to protect everyone’s desired level of privacy.
I’m closing this with my own prayer. May we act in this age of loneliness and temptation as a woke church to redeem Gethsemane for those who are sweating blood in their own unusual and unique way. May we do it unto Jesus as we do it unto the least, and loneliest, of others in today’s world. Amen.