Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spirituality: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” By Martin E. Marty

That is a cry of abandonment! Many believers since have tried to explain it away, saying that Jesus was only quoting Psalm 22, which ends on a note of confidence. No, that doesn’t work. This quoted cry became his own statement of his own condition, in that eerie darkness of that afternoon. He may have been ready for an innocent death, he was sure of his purpose, but in that pain, and in that chaos, and in that hour, he had nothing left but a cry of God-forsakenness.

That cry, of course, belongs to the larger plot of the Gospel story, of faith in Jesus and the one he called Eli – my God. If he had not felt abandoned, his dying would have been only an uncomfortable charade on the way to a resurrection. Here instead is the note of realism that has led believers ever since to have confidence that he was the last one who needed to feel utterly abandoned by God. In their view, full of faith, thanks to the love he showed the world, he effected a new relation with God. And so they are confident that they will live and die in divine company – never forsaken as he felt he was, and at that moment, as he truly was.

Source: Richard Young, ed., Echoes from Calvary: Meditations on Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” page 99.