Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Never Really Got This Before

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day in Holy Week that focuses on the wonder of Jesus washing our feet in preparation for Good Friday. I have been trying to be more intentional about making every day this week uniquely holy, no easy feat given the busyness of Easter preparations and life in general.  But this morning as I pondered anew the moment when Jesus cried out: My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?  I saw something I never really got before.

I've often been moved by the reality that when Jesus took on the sins of the world, He experienced all the consequences of our nasty rebellion as well.  But what hit me today was that the greatest fallout from sin is the severing of our souls from the Source of our being, the tearing asunder of who we are from the only One who really knows, the God who made us for His pleasure.

This is the pathos that festers like an open sore within the human psyche and echoes endlessly in the black hole of existence without our Maker.  In lonely glances and lustful intents, in vacant stares and hollow hopes, in bitter grief and tortuous sleep, in the agony of abandonment and the awfulness of abuse, the reminder that we are alone torments every person on planet earth.  From this agony there is no escape.  We are born into a world of sorrow, separated from the only One who can bring order to the chaos, healing to the brokenness, and meaning to our empty days.  Could there be any greater pain?

This, I believe, is what Jesus chose to endure in those final moments of Golgotha's glory.  Most people say that when Jesus cried out My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?, it was because the Father could not look upon the sin that saturated His Son's being, but this explanation falls far too short.   The truth is that Jesus could have changed things even then, drawing from His Deity to deliver Him and restore in an instant His Father's embrace.   Instead, He chose to take on not only our sin, but this detritus of desperation that has always followed in its wake.   

The Cross has confounded me once again.  What else can I do but fall on my face and worship?.


  1. I was worshipping at church a few months ago and had sudden realization that this feeling of being forsaken by the Father that Jesus experienced, in relation to Hebrews 4:15. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." He knew, in those moments the separation, the aloneness, the hopelessness that we feel before we know Him. My life so changed when I first believed. I no longer felt alone and without purpose. That presence, His presence, changed everything and over 30 years later I am still so profoundly grateful about that. It just really struck me that this was the ultimate suffering that the Son felt, the pain of separateness from His Father.

    And in this too, we can come to Him and know that He understands. How amazing and wonderful is that??

    I just finished (well...tomorrow) your "Contemplating the Cross" book. What a blessing. Thank you!
    I know it is a labor of love, but thank you for your labor!

    Easter blessings to you and your family!

  2. Thanks for this (coupled with the same phrase in my liturgy reading for the day)prompted in my heart and mind a very sweet interaction with my Lord yesterday. Grateful.

  3. Well said, Tricia. I am immediately reminded of Hebrews 2:17 "He had to be made like His brethren in all things ..."

  4. I just reserved Sacred Chaos from the library, but as I am wont to do, noticed your web site and decided to check it out. I am a big fan of getting to "know" the authors I read and love when they make themselves accessible through blogs, etc. I love your writing already. I especially loved this post, as it seems with each passing year, God draws me more deeply into the power and pathos of the Easter story and season.

    Blessings . . .