Bishop Karen Oliveto's Weekly Message (4/3/23)

April 03, 2023
I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference as we prepare to journey with Jesus through Holy Week.

I was blessed to be the contributor to Disciplines, a publication of the Upper Room, providing a daily devotion. I share with you the reflection I wrote for today, based on Matthew 26:36-46:

Our bodies have within them a natural response to stress and danger: fight or flight. For some, however, there is a third option: sleep. Some researchers note that this response is due to early experiences of trauma and feeling a lack of control. It is called “learned helplessness” and can often manifest itself by sleeping when confronted with stressful and difficult situations.

The disciples who walked with Jesus over the course of his public ministry had known a road filled with unpredictable crowds and suspicious leaders. But what could have prepared them for Jesus’ final days? Jesus spoke to them about all that lay before him, but were they able to grasp the seriousness of his words? As Jesus grew “grieved and agitated” at the Garden of Gethsemane, the full impact of Jesus words was felt. Instead of praying with Jesus as he wrestled with his fate, the disciples did what many of us who don’t fight or flight do, they fell asleep.

All Jesus wanted was for them to be by his side as he prayed and struggled. That is all anyone who is in distress asks of us: sit with me. Pray with me. There is not a request to fix it, change it, make it not happen. Just be present and share the journey together.

As we get ready for Holy Week, may we not leapfrog from Palm Sunday to Easter, seeking to avoid the painful, crucifying parts of Jesus’ journey. May we not slumber as the Son of Man faces betrayal, a trial, lashings, and finally, death on a cross. May we simple stay awake and enter into the fullness of Jesus’ last days.

I hope you have a blessed Sunday!

With love,
Bishop Karen

PS: Remember to join us for Lenten Digital Devotions, Monday – Friday at 6:30am for 15-20 minutes. It’s a great way to start the day! Just log on at:
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