“ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE.” . . . Ephesians 3:17
Few of us have escaped the suffering of body, heart, mind or soul where we cry out, like Jesus from the cross, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mk 15:34) We are nailed in place and cannot escape.
During those times of threatening illness, tragic loss, massive confusion, formidable transition, deep-well heart-break, we can be subject to a dark night that well-nigh extinguishes any flickering hope. Yet it is important to remember that in the midst of our most raging anxiety or deepest despair, we have good company. Jesus endured crucifixion as one of us, experiencing the full human pain of body, heart, mind and soul. That included the profound sense of hopelessness of one abandoned by God just at the worst moment. Dying on the cross, Jesus echoed the beginning of Psalm 22, which reads:
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.
Being a Christian does not bring exemption from the human experience, from “outrageous fortune” or a “sea of troubles,” or from feeling fully forsaken by God. But it does put us in good company. We share our life’s lot with Jesus, whose complete anguish was wrought into the joy of resurrection. The good company extends: we share our life’s lot with our church family that gathers at our cross, not to mock us, but to be with us, know us and love us in our travail. And, even more, we share our life’s lot within the context of a sacred story where the divine is constantly moving us from imprisonment to freedom, from despair to hope, from old to new, from crucifixion to resurrection.
Like a childhood hymn seared into the depths of our physical and soul memory, so is this knowledge of the final ends of God. So that while Jesus was in abject despair, even as he spoke those first lines from Psalm 22, deep within him and others who stood there that day resonated the ending of the same Psalm:
For God did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
God did not hide God’s face from me,
but heard when Icried to God. . . .
All the ends of the earth shall . . .
Proclaim God’s deliverance.
God’s absence may be felt, but God’s redeeming, restoring, resurrecting presence is always real and the final truth. With God, joy will come in the morning, Alleluia.
In Christ’s love, Kendrick
INVITATION TO OUR CHAPEL
Our Chapel is open for a private moment before Sunday’s service or during the week. You are invited to come early and take a moment to thank God for a good week or for help with a challenge.
830 Corbin Avenue
New Britain, CT 06052
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org