It is Holy Thursday. The day Jesus ate the Seder meal with his apostles, washed their feet, then walked through the Kidron Valley to a familiar spot on the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane.
The Mount of Olives is aptly named for the many olive trees that grace its western slope. They are beautiful, knotted, twisted. With branches that flare and spiral upward into sprays of tiny green leaves. The olive tree is a symbol of peace and purification. The oil from its fruit has healing qualities, and the word “Gethsemane” in the Hebrew literally means “oil press.” Could there be a more appropriate place for Christ to work out the awful Atonement?
The English author, Graham Greene, said this of Jesus’ Atonement.
“You can’t conceive, nor can I or anyone, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
It is appalling. What Christ had to feel in the Garden and on the cross, and all the hours in between. (I wrote about this quote a couple years ago, but not in much detail.) So I made a list of the words used in the four gospels that describe how Jesus was treated. More at Segullah today…
And artwork by my friend, Leslie Graff. I’ve used Allegory here before, but you should see her work. Some day Leslie, I will buy a piece. xo