A while back (Battlestar memories) I said I’d blog about Babylon 5 and theology. Today as I sat in church we had some Gospel readings from the Passion week and I remembered the B5 episode Passing Through Gethsemane. To me it has much in it that fits with the Lenten season.
In this episode a minor character, Brother Edward, who is a monk living on the space station is asked by an alien character to talk about his faith. Edward says the following
On the night before our Lord was crucified. He spent the night alone in the garden at Gethsemane. And he knew that they were going to come for him and in a moment of weakness he asked if this cup could pass for him. If he could be spared the pain and .. and death that would come with morning. And of course the cup would not pass and the soldiers would come to Gethsemane, but he did not have to be there when they arrived. He could have chosen to leave, to postpone the inevitable for a few hours or even days. He knew what would happen, but he choose to stay, to sacrifice himself and thus atone for the sin’s of others. A very fragile human moment.
Edward then ponders whether he would have the strength to meet his own Gethsemane and in the course of the story he does and is literally crucified (lots of details missing in this description).
The story ends with the chapter of monks accepting the murderer, who has now been given a new set of memories, into their order as a novice as a demonstration of forgiveness. For an TV episode written by an avowed atheist the spiritual themes are profound and well worth discussing. (You should be able to hire the episode (Vol 23 VHS or Season 3 DVD set) at your local video shop
And so this Lent I’m thinking about what is my Gethsemane and will I have the strength and the faith to meet it. Is life, especially in Lent, a series of “little Gethsemanes”, when the cup does not pass?
Furthermore one of the readings today had the part where Christ’s cross is carried by another, Simon of Cyrene. We are all called to take up our cross and follow Christ – but who are the others who will take up our cross when we cannot carry it anymore? And are there crosses that we should be carrying for others even as they walk on into the darkness?