Thresholds and Kidrons

READ:  John 18:1- 11

“After Jesus had shared in the Passover and had offered His prayer in the upper room, Jesus left with His disciples walked out through the city gates and crossed over the Kidron valley so that He might have a time of quiet nighttime prayer with His disciples.  Judas the traitor also knew this place since Jesus had often gathered with His disciples there for evening prayers.” – John 18:1,2

“Crossing the Kidron” is an old and oft use idiom to speak of when a soul makes a fateful decision that will change the course of his or her days.  Outside the walls of Jerusalem, a brook called the Kidron did sometimes flow. But in certain seasons, the Kidron was but a dry riverbed, little more than a shallow valley between the hill known as Zion upon which Jerusalem was built and the surrounding hillside where olive trees did stand, a place known as the Mount of Olives.  Among the olive trees stood an olive press … and near the olive press, a quiet, secluded garden had come into being.  Here, it is noted, that Jesus and His disciples, devout Jews in their upbringing would say their prayers: prayers both formal and informal, both recited and spontaneous, both ancient and those now freshly voiced.  And, I do believe, because of the quiet setting, included within the prayer time was extended time for quiet, contemplative prayer.

thresholdsSister Anne had come late in the day to do some business with the Abbot of Greyfriars’.  I would suspect that the business was of the commonplace administrative variety – maybe, the scheduling of an event or the accommodations for some guests of the opposite gender.  But that is of no importance here.  Rather, it was the moment that Sister Anne left through the gates of Greyfriars’ Abbey and back into the world out there and her world beyond.  It appeared as if she were departing into the last light of the day, walking in a rather peaceful way, at a slower pace, somehow prayerfully, as if she were crossing a threshold that only she could see.  And I wondered … what was in the soul of Sister Anne in her crossing of that threshold.  Was she, in some secret place within her thoughts, crossing some unspoken Kidron Valley known only to her and her Lord?

Recently I had to watch two beautiful souls cross their mortal threshold, both singers of God’s grace, each in their way.  And I sense that their crossing was in the manner of Sister Anne and our Lord Jesus Christ.  In their crossings, I believe they crossed both knowing – while yet not fully knowing – what awaited beyond the threshold.  They knew what needed to be, but still they approached the crossing in a reverential way, that way of life which is both a blend of the human and the divine.  Their faith, their confidence, their quality of spirit that had been created through the years of their faithfulness, provided them a vision of the glory to be as well as a comfort for the struggle that comes with moving on.

Such is the flow of the Christian life … it flows ever onward … it flows from the glory we have come to know to the glory we have yet to fully know.  Yet, divine glory, humanly experienced is still glory … whether the glory is on this side or the other side of the thresholds we must cross.  Yes, the Christian life flows ever onward … for it is of such a nature.

My Loved Ones, we all must cross our Kidron Valleys … and it is usually something we approach with a measure of reluctance … but cross them we must.  Shy not away … but still … we can approach them in a spirit of quiet prayer with our spiritual friends nearby.


Brother Anthony of the Cross

(jim mcwhinnie)


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