And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he [Jesus] said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch for one hour?" Mark 14:32-37
Gracious Lord Jesus, we come before you today on behalf stunned communities and grieving friends in a state of shock---those who begin this day responding to the fiercest of all goodbyes, suicide. O, mighty and merciful Lord, bring your loving heart and presence to bear in profound ways.
Twice in a year would be sobering, twice in a month would be shocking, but I will never forget the week we had two families in our community of faith lose a loved one to suicide. We felt then, what many feel now in similar circumstances. How could this happen? What did we miss? What are we to do now? As the questions multiply, multiply your mercies even more.
We to run to you, Jesus. Where else can we go with our disbelief, numbness, shock, and profound sadness? No one has suffered overwhelming sorrow like you. What you sustained in Gethsemane and endured on the cross makes the path into your presence so very welcoming.
There are so many things we don't understand about suicide. We feel guilt. We feel fear. We feel vulnerable. Please comfort those in the middle of profound shock and swirling confusion.
Oh, holy and glorious mystery---that you, Lord Jesus were made sin for us, the victim and agent of sin. No one understands, like you, how disintegrated and distressed the heart can become, even to the point of losing all desire to live. No one understands, like you, the guilt and shame of sin. No one understands, like you, betrayal, loss, forsakenness, emptiness.
And no one knows how to love in the most broken of all stories like you, Jesus. Because you drank the cup of God's judgment, you now give us the cup of your grace. Show us, your people, how to care for those who now face what feels like an inconsolable loss. What will being present and keeping watch look like?
Though you were abandoned by sleeping disciples, you will never abandon us. Jesus, help us know how to love in the darkness. Again we cry, bring your limitless, tender mercies to bear. No one can offer tears of hope and a tear-wiping hand like you, Jesus.
We also pray for a greater sensitivity towards our friends who are struggling with depression and the loss of hope. Let us take nothing for granted. A call, a check in, just letting them know they care. And lastly, Jesus, for those of us feeling encroaching darkness in our own souls, for your name's sake and glory, give us enough grace to collapse on you today and to get the help we need. Meet us where we are and take us into your provision. So very Amen we pray, in your solace-laden name.