Daily Devotional reflections

As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.

Thursday 30th July 2020

The Mount of Olives



The Mount of Olives (also known as or Mount Olivet) is a ridge that is located just outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Today it is best known for its Jewish Cemetery, which contains some of Israel’s most notable citizens including soldiers who fought in the 1948 War of Independence. Rising to more than 800 metres, it offers probably the best views of the Old City. I have visited the Mount of Olives on a couple of occasions. My last visit coincided with Palm Sunday, so I decided to joined in the annual parade which starts from the top of the hill and winds its way down, past the Jewish Cemetery and into the narrow streets of the Old City. So I left my hotel and made my way to the bus station. Here I encountered what might have been a major obstacle. All the buses were numbered in either Hebrew or Arabic. I did not have a clue which one to catch. I then spotted a group of Nuns carry Palm Branches boarding a bus on another platform. I then reasoned that a Nun carrying a Palm Branch on Palm Sunday was most likely heading in the right direction. It was a fascinating morning out. There was a lively, almost festival atmosphere. I ‘joined’ a group who identified themselves as the Hebrew Speaking Catholics of Israel. I did not have a clue what they were saying or singing, but they seem to be having the most fun!


Matthew 26: 36-46

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”


The Mount of Olives appears frequently within the New Testament. It is on the route from Bethany where Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he journeyed on Palm Sunday. At the bottom of the Mount of Olives is the Garden of Gethsemane, the site of one of the most poignant moments of Jesus life. In Gethsemane He wrestled with the burden of his forthcoming death on the cross for the sins of humanity and the experience of betrayal by Judas. Returning to the top of the hill, there is a building called the Chapel of the Ascension, which according to tradition marks the site where 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus physically departed the earth and returned to heaven. Here in the last moments of His early life, the risen Lord returns victorious to the glory of heaven.

There is a sense in which each of these events are essential. We need a God who weeps. A saviour who has experienced and shares in the desolation of grief and pain betrayal. We need a God who suffers. A saviour who carriers our sin and brokenness to the cross. We need a God who risen and ascended. A saviour who has defeated death and is seated at God’s right hand. Who intercedes for us and will one-day welcome us home in glory.

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church


Lord God, coming to you in prayer is serious buisness.
The world is out of joint, and our lives are out of joint.
Generally, we do our best, but You see what we are really like.
Sometimes we know very well we have gone wrong, sometimes we just know that Your holiness is beyond us.
And yet Your compassion is over all You have made.
Have mercy on us. Forgive what is wrong, strengthen what is right,
and guide us in the right way, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Lord God, coming to you in prayer is serious buisness.
All creation is made for Your glory, and we voice that now.
Your Spirit plants hints of glory in our hearts, and we delight to offer You our praise and worship.
Help us in our song to give You honour, in our silence to wait for You to speak, through Jesus Christ, Your living word.

Lord God, coming to you in prayer is serious buisness.
We come with our concerns and our fears, with people on our hearts, stalked by troubles and worries.
Open Your generous hand, to satisfy our desire, to renew our faith that You are kind, and close to all who call upon You, as we do, trusting in Jesus who bears our burdens, and carries our sorrows.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end


Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


Not when the mountains shake,
or the seas roar,
or the clouds part to reveal You,
Holy One,
but here and now,
on this one ordinary day,
we will wait and watch
for You will surely come to us.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all, now and evermore.