My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
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?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him
to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
(see also Matthew 27:45-54)
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
For six hours Jesus has been hanging from the cross.
Six hours of abuse, humiliation, and shame.
Six hours of unimaginable pain.
In moments of my life when I have been deeply, deeply wounded one of the things that compounded the pain was not having words to express what I was feeling.
In this moment of unimaginable pain Jesus finds the words to express his pain from the psalms, the prayer book of the Bible.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”
are the first words of Psalm 22, a psalm of David.
The same David who wrote Psalm 23.
In Psalm 23, David writes of the comfort and courage found in experiencing God’s presence while walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
In Psalm 22, David writes of the agony and despair we experience when we seemingly walk through life’s dark valleys alone.
The Psalms give voice to the full range of human emotion and show us that no feeling or emotion is too raw or too visceral to bring to God in prayer.
On the cross, Jesus feels utterly abandoned and so he brings his pain to God in prayer.
How are YOU feeling right now?
However you feel, whether it is sad, angry, scared, peaceful, or happy, the psalms show us that we can be transparent and bring our whole selves to God in prayer.
God's love for you is so great that you do not have to pretend to be okay when you are not okay.
Today, in your time of prayer, give yourself permission to feel however you are feeling.
And let that feeling, lead you into prayer.
Just like Jesus did.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. Donnie Wilkinson