April 14: My God, My God…
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
The title of this Psalm in the NRSV is “Plea for deliverance from suffering and hostility” and the power of Psalm 22 lies in the language rife with intense emotion that speaks the felt experience of being cut off by God and all of humanity. Most of us don’t want to admit that we have experienced the depths of sorrow and feeling abandoned by God or another. We fear that if we name this, we are being petulant, let alone unfaithful. Yet, if Jesus shouts this from the cross in the passion narrative in Mark (Eloi, Eloi lema sabachthani) and Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, then we too can, with utter certainty, cry out as well. In this Psalm, God is again giving us the grace to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves; giving us language to cry out the lament, to name the depths of our despair, to lodge our complaint with the Most High. It seems all rather selfish, unsavory and even unacceptable. Yet, if we have the courage to enter into the truth and depth of this lament, we then actually enter into solidarity with Jesus on the cross. By choosing to enter into solidarity with Jesus on the cross also allows Jesus to enter fully into our pain, grief and laments.
This is known as “The Good Friday Experience”. By being fully vulnerable with Jesus, it also creates a bond and power that is not fully possible with another human. Jesus is truly the only one who can say to us, “I know your pain, I too felt abandoned. But I’m here to tell you, it won’t last. Before you go rushing on to the next part of my story, stay with me a little while, keep me company, be my companion and I’ll be yours, forever.”
Daily Prayer (suggestion) Sit in silence, and imagine Jesus sitting with you and embracing you in your suffering, your anger, your fear or your grief. Then imagine yourself embracing Jesus in his suffering, fear and grief knowing he did it for you, for those whom you love and those whom no one loves.