For the last several hours, I have been listening to the Arabic hymn Wa Habibi (My Belovéd). Usually sung on Good Friday, it is a traditional Catholic hymn which tells the story of Christ in Gethsemane.

One need not understand the Arabic to be pulled into the haunting harmonies of the tune — excruciatingly beautiful, yet heavy with the agony of the story they portray.

From Luke 22:39 – 44, we read:

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.

40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (NKJV)

As the words rise and fall on the melody, I feel His earnestness, I feel His passion in prayer for me as He raises His head in supplication to the Father, then bows low again in obedience and abject sorrow. Over and over He agonises as my salvation is lived out, as He feels the anguish of the  battle that is to come, . . . of the lash, . . . of the scourge, . . . of the nails,  . . . of the spear, . . . of the darkness of death, . . . of the searing pain of separation from the Father for no sin of His own.

Two questions echo back and forth in my mind like the thunder of the timpani:

  • Is He my Belovéd?
  • Am I as devoted to Him as He was devoted to me in those moments?



My Belovéd, my Belovéd
What condition are you in?
He who sees you, for you would cry
You are the one and only sacrifice

My Belovéd, what blame
Have the nations put upon you?
They gave you wounds
Which  cannot heal.

When in the dark orchard at night
The God Creator knelt and prayed
Life was praying with the One
Who gave life hope and prayer

The olive trees are crying
As the lips of men quiver
My Belovéd how will you go?
Has loyalty gone forever?

My Belovéd, my Belovéd
What condition are you in?
He who sees you, for you would cry
You are the one and only sacrifice

— J. E. Clark | 7 March 2011

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