For the seven days of Holy Week, our devotions will focus on the seven last words of Christ. At our Good Friday Worship at 7:00 p.m. on April 14, we will hear these words read aloud again and mediate upon them through prayer and song.
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:33-34)
Have you been there before, too? God, where are you? God, how could you let this happen? God, why won’t you help me? At his hour of pain and death, Jesus wonders where God is, too. We know it’s ok to ask these questions because Jesus asked them, too.
These words are called lament. They are faithful words that we hear throughout Scripture. Jesus himself quotes Psalm 22. Psalm 77 and 88 are also lament psalms.
As those who believe in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus, we know how the story ends. Mourning, crying, pain, and death will be no more. (Rev. 21:4). Yet, Scriptures and Jesus words give us permission to be present and linger for a little while in the pain and suffering we so often experience today. We don’t want to dwell there forever, and God promises us that we won’t stay there forever. We know at some point we have to get up and help others; do what needs to be done. But our tears and our cries are not outside of God’s vision or love. They are deeply rooted in the heart of God’s love for you and for all the earth. Holy tears. Holy questions. Holy longing for God. It’s OK to stay there for a little while, joining our cries with the cry of Jesus and all others who are feeling the same way throughout our city, our nation, and world right now. It might even be what God needs us to do.
Prayer: Precious Lord, why is this happening? Take this away from me. Give me tears today, and wipe them away when I am ready, when you see it is time. Fill me with love and compassion for all who are crying out to you in need right now. Amen.