Scripture: Matt 27: 45-54
Key verses: (45-47) from noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”
Reflection: Darkness covered the whole land, even as the mob of people swelled around the cross. Out of the silence that followed, came this anguished cry from the depths of the Savior’s soul. At Jesus lowest point, his mind instinctively recites Psalm 22, borrowing words from the psalmist to express the depth of his anguish.
What do you go to at your lowest point? In the darkness, what scripture do you recite? This summer, we have encouraged our youth to memorize four verses of scripture. Every month, they can send us a video from wherever they are in the world. They recite the verse and their name goes into a drawing for big cash and prizes. (OK, a bible, old church t-shirts and a few gift cards.) It has been a great way to connect our youth when they are at camps, traveling or on family vacations. More than that, they are putting in their brain some words from scripture they can pull out in their darkest moments. I have worked to memorize several psalms that bring me comfort and offer me hope.
Jesus relied on those same psalms. Jesus did not just feel forsaken, he was forsaken. He was forsaken by the disciples and by God. This was literally a dark moment. Jesus felt alone. Does that mean that our Creator, the Father ceased to love the Son? No. Even in the depths of his soul, Jesus carried the assurance that God was holding him. His cry begins with a reminder that he is not alone “My God…” Let us remember even in our darkest moments, we are never alone.
Prayer: God of the darkness, be our light. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[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].