Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Seven Last Words of Christ (4)

(For Holy Week, we’ll be posting daily devotions about Christ’s Last Words from the Cross. Some of our regular contributors – Sarahlynn, Quotidian Grace, Doug, and Stushie – will be writing them. If you have any comments, meditations, or prayers to add to each post, please put them in the comments section.)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi,lama sabachthani?" — which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Matthew 27:45-46 NIV

I am hesitant to speculate about what Jesus might have been thinking or feeling while he was hanging on the cross, when he was uttering these words. My own life experiences have taught me that I rarely feel what I would have expected to feel in any situation, and that I really can't experience anything the way someone else has. Especially not this event, especially not this Someone.

But I think that it is significant that Jesus quoted King David here:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?

Psalm 22:1 NIV
Of course God had not forsaken King David at all. Jesus knew that, and must also have known what the Psalmist said soon after:
In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.

Psalm 22:4 NIV
Even in his own despair, David trusted God. And God was with David. So, too, did Jesus trust God, even during his hours on the cross. God was with Him. And God is with all of us.

Several members of the congregation to which I belong participate in something that's listed in the bulletin and newsletter schedule as INAM Book Club. I often wondered what that meant, and felt excluded from the group by my ignorance. Last year, one of our associate pastors, a member of the INAM book club, asked me to attend one of their meetings.

"What does INAM mean?" I asked her, feeling a bit ignorant and foolish, thinking that I was probably already supposed to know.

"It's not about me," she said, simply.

Indeed! (Of course the acronym was used for space reasons rather than as a secret code, and was just another of the unintentional ways we Presbyterians occasionally close off our communities.)

Prayer: God, please help me to remember that you have not forsaken me; that, indeed, it's not all about me. It's so easy for me to become inwardly focused and forget about the example I might be for others. Remembering how others might see me reminds me of who I want to be and how I want to behave. Most of all, it reminds me about why I want to be this way, and whose example I attempt to follow. Thank you for your continued guidance. Amen.

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