Scripture: Psalm 22
Key verse: (1) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.”
Reflection: After an exhausting night of interrogation, Jesus is convicted, scourged, and nailed to a cross. He is in agony and cries out the first words of this psalm as he slowly dies. Crucifixion was barbaric. There are no words to describe its horror. Jesus suffered unspeakable pain. Even though we affirm he was fully God and fully human, there was no escaping death.
The world events of the past week have reminded me that we live in a Good Friday world and we are waiting for Easter. Our world is filled with unspeakable pain and death. Humanity’s inhumanity is often beyond comprehension. Where was God when men, women, and children were attacked with poison gas while they slept? Where was God when an estranged husband killed his wife, himself, and one of her young students in an elementary school classroom? Where was God when another person was murdered in Charlotte? Where was God when you suffered because of depression, grief, or despair?
One of my favorite theologians, Jurgen Moltmann, writes:
At the point where men and women lose hope, where they become powerless and can do nothing more, the lonely, assailed and forsaken Christ waits for them and gives them a share in his passion. . . Our disappointments, our lonelinesses and our defeats do not separate us from him; they draw us more deeply into communion with him. . . Good Friday is the most comprehensive and most profound expression of Christ’s fellowship with every human being. (Taken from The Power of the Powerless, 1983.)
Even though Jesus felt abandoned on the cross, he was never abandoned by God. God was with him in his most desperate hour, reminding us that Jesus Christ is with us, now and always.
Prayer: Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer, hear the cry of those in misery and need. In their affliction show them your mercy, and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them, for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.* In his name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
*Book of Common Worship, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].