"Why have you forsaken me?"

Artist: Edvard Munch Source: WikiPaintings Is all this really necessary? This cross? This consequence borne by Christ?

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Things are not that bad. Are they?

We can only grasp a fraction Of the immense weight Crashing down upon Jesus That day.

The unimaginable burden Of not only our individual misdeeds Or our personal omissions, But the iniquities And atrocities Of generation upon generation upon generation. The entirety of wickedness Since evil invaded the world.

The sin of human history Creating a distance beyond our understanding.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Christ is forsaken. Dropped in the chasm Of overflowing corpses. The bodies of those who have been massacred. The hundreds murdered every day. Every day. For years stacked upon decades stacked upon centuries.

Christ is forsaken. Adrift in the gulf Of echoing wails. The cries of those sexually assaulted. Every two minutes. Over And over And over again. Shrieking in their violation and pain.

Christ is forsaken. Standing in the abyss Between oppressor and oppressed. Taking the beatings of the millions, Millions, Who have been And are And will be Imprisoned, exploited, and enslaved.

Christ is forsaken. Experiencing the void Of lost generations. Entire people groups wiped out When neighbor turns against neighbor When former friends slaughter one another As nations collapse into genocide.

It’s too much. It’s all too much.

Too much for us to hold. Too vast for us to grasp.

This is the great burden borne by Christ. Taking iniquities beyond imagination Upon the only shoulders broad enough to carry them And loving enough to be crushed by their weight.

From the chasm of evil, For the sake of humanity, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


This is another reflection I wrote for my church's Good Friday service. In honor of this day of waiting, as we sit in the waiting space before the resurrection, it feels appropriate to continue pondering Christ's death. I hope it helps you do that today.

"I am thirsty."

“I am thirsty,” is a most ordinary phrase.For to thirst Is to be human.

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Jesus is human. The only human to ever be so by choice. Human at a time the rest of us would have chosen Any other path than the one He walked.

For to be fully human Is to fully experience The agony of it all.

Jesus declares, “I am thirsty."

Did His thirst begin in the garden the night before? When His heart broke into tears And His mouth filled with the bitter taste of betrayal. When the kiss of a friend Was used to stab Him in the back.

How parched did His mouth become as the night dragged on with accusations? When His tongue waited And restrained itself from words of defense. When the only water offered to Him Was the spit spattered across His face.

How dry was His throat When His lips were up against that post and the liquid ran red from His back? When the metal ends of a whip Ripped through His flesh Again And again And again And again.

Was there any water left for His tears When thorns pierced His brow? When blow After blow After blow Drove the sign of the curse Deeper and deeper Into the only head capable of bearing its burden.

How did He long for relief When the heavy weight of that wooden beam Was placed upon His cracked-open shoulders? When nails went through His wrists And pain shot like lightning up His arms. When His knees were forced outward So His feet could be hammered like a piece of lumber.

How did Jesus feel His frailty, When He was hung Naked Upon that appalling tree? When He chose to be human In the midst of public humiliation And unimaginable suffering.

How did He gasp and sputter As His body reached for the life that was being drained from it? When His arms pulled out from their joints And pushed His lungs to the point of collapse. When the One who breathed the earth into being Struggled now to simply exhale.

Labored breathing. Excruciating pain. Agonizing thirst.

As God, Jesus could have blocked the torture, Pushed away the suffering, Stopped the death. As human, Jesus chose to face the torment, Endure the anguish, Experience the death.

“I am thirsty.” This was Jesus’ declaration of humanity And His demonstration of love.


I wrote this reflection for the Good Friday service at my church. In honor of the day, I also wanted to share it with you here. 

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Giving Up... A Series for Lent

I have often given up something for Lent. Usually sweets.  

For me, often hidden behind the deep spiritual meaning of fasting was the desire to Just. Loose. Some. Weight. Please.

 

For many of us, that’s the case when it comes to this season of fasting and giving up. We want to do something that helps us sacrifice and center. And that desire comes from a good place of wanting to connect with Jesus more deeply. But mixed in with that healthy desire is all the rest of our baggage and ill-conceived desires that get in the way.

 

At least that’s what happens to me.

 

And so, I was thinking… what if for Lent, I tried to give up those things? What if I worked on giving up those under-the-surface desires and fears and burdens that are really behind me not committing more wholly to Jesus?

 

Giving up on caring how much I am liked, or giving up on holding it all together (or at least looking like I am), or giving up on being comfortable.

 

Is it possible to do something to give up those things for Lent?

 

These things are deep-seated fears and desires that can’t be unwedged from my hidden corners with any one simple action. Would it really help to try?

 

A simple action may not solve anything. But maybe writing could be a start.

 

And so, I’d like to introduce my new series, “Giving Up… A Series for Lent.”

 

This will not be much like the other Lenten series I have done. In keeping with my desire to learn to BE in 2014, this series is going to be a little more raw. A public confession of sorts. Maybe even with the accountability of an action to go along with it. And perhaps even with the vulnerability to receive suggestions in the comments.

 

Once a week, starting after Ash Wednesday, I will swallow hard and admit something I need to give up. Not in order to understand more about the unimaginable sacrifice of Jesus (because really, can we do that anyway?), but to understand more of His unconditional love.

 

Would you join with me on this (frightening) journey?

 

(P.S. Anyone interested in making this a link-up? I would love to hear what you want to give up too!)

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