SEVEN: Trust

21 03 2008

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

At the last, Jesus does all he can do. He gives up control of everything and trusts.

No one can take his life from him, but he gave and poured his life out for everyone. He ministered and comforted so many, and the only one to minister and comfort him is common criminal who only asked to be remembered.

He gave his life back to the Father, the source of everything. And so his body grows cold and stiff. The fires which lit the light of the world are now extinguished and have grown cold.

In the end, all Jesus can do … all any of us can do … is trust.





SIX: Finished

21 03 2008

It is finished.

There is nothing more that can be done. No more healings. No more sayings. No more miracles. The one who created the world, the one through whom “all things were made” has said it is finished.

On the sixth day, God created humankind, looked over all of creation and called it very good. At the sixth word, Jesus said it is finished. Coincidence?

Maybe.

How strange it is that Christians look to a man of whom it could be said was the only true victim in this world as our saviour. How even more strange that we say that there is nothing we can do to earn a connection, a relationship with something or someone much bigger than ourselves.

Whenever we ask if there was anything more we could have done, we must remember …. it is finished.

It is finished … but is it really over?





FIVE: Thirst

19 03 2008

I thirst … John 29:38

What does it mean when the one who said he is the giver of Living Water is thirsty?

What does it mean when the one who said he is the Resurrection and the Life is dying?

The wellspring of living water has run out.





FOUR: Dereliction

19 03 2008

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

Crucifixion is one of the most horrible ways we can dehumanize another person. In this act of torture, we reduce someone who was created in the image of God, into a piece of meat fit only for vultures and flies.

In this hour, as Jesus hangs on the cross, Jesus feels the weight of the sins of the world bearing upon his entire body and spirit.

He knows Judas’ remorse of betrayal and of Peter’s shame in denial. Jesus knows what it means to kill, to steal, to be powerless, to lie, to covet, to even sell himself for the pleasure of another, and to be human at our uttermost low.

It is here, that Jesus knows what hell might be like in dying and knowing the absence of God.

On the cross, Jesus is portrayed as a failure to an ideal vision lost in a sea of human depravity. His friends, his family, his followers have left him. His own Father has turned his back on the only begotten Son, for the Son of God has embraced death and sin.

But, even on the Cross, there is the Good News of the Gospel. Even in his death throws, Jesus still remembers His father and prefaces his heart wrenching cry with a Psalm, “MY GOD, MY GOD!”

We know that Christ’s death is not meaningless. Somehow, this death offers us life. God is not just giving up his son for our sake. God is giving Himself. God is willing not only to taste death and evil, but to embrace it in the person of Jesus so that we may know him as he knows us.

Because God Himself chose to embrace death … we can now be truly alive.

In dying for us, God went to a place that he has never known or been to before.





THREE: Family Values

18 03 2008

Woman, behold your son … Behold, your mother. John 19: 26, 27

In this simple phrase, in the midst of his agony and suffering, Jesus commends the care of his mother over to the beloved disciple, commonly referred to as John.

What is this all about? At other points in the Gospels, Jesus addresses his mother as simply, “Woman.” Take the wedding of Cana: “Woman, what is it to me?” Take another example: When Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were waiting for him, he pointed to the crowd that had assembled around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”

There are all sorts of promotion of family values coming from various quarters of political and social pundits today. Here, at the cross, all of their pundit-ing is for naught, for Jesus here overturns culture and the new kind of family values he has been hinting at is brought into being by this saying. Even in the middle of suffering and death, the power of the Gospel is at work. The “proper” thing to do would have been, as the first born son, to give care over to one of his brothers, but Jesus gives this care over to one of his disciples.

New relationships are forged at the cross … relationships that do not rely on anything … not blood, not station, not race or nationality, not even gender, but the common bond we all share in One who died for us and rose again.

It is the Cross which makes these new family values possible.





TWO: Remembrance

18 03 2008

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:34

In life, Jesus was known to hang out with the least of society: the prostitutes, the IRS, the heathen. In death, all four Gospels point to the fact that Jesus was executed along with two terrorists. Even in death, he is among the bad elements of society. Not the religious establishment, not the well-to-do, not the successful, but those whom are failures by the world’s standards.

Who can say what caused the two thieves to turn to crimes against people and state? We know nothing about the two men on either side of Jesus, but all four Gospel writers state they were there. One lashes out against Jesus in anger crying, “SAVE YOURSELF AND US!” and the other says, “remember me.”

Remembering can be to recall from memory or to think about, but it can also mean to act. To act is what happens when God remembers his people in the Old Testament. God remembered his people in bondage in Egypt and rescued them.
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.





ONE: Forgiveness

17 03 2008

Father, forgive them for the know not what they do — Luke 23:34

Could we forgive as Jesus forgives?

Could we, as homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered forgive the churches who have rejected us and even persecuted us because of who we are?

Could we forgive those who promote and live in an ex-gay ministry, who seek to invalidate our identity?

Could we forgive the companies we work for, who by their very nature dehumanize us for the sake of a profit, and who make us cogs in the great machine of corporate America?

If we could, what would be the cost to ourselves and to our community which we love so much?

I heard of an Anglican priest in the United Kingdom who renounced the priesthood because she could not forgive those who initiated the attacks in London on 7/7. I give her a great deal of credit, for in her admittance of her inability to forgive, she shows how much we, as the Body of Christ, need to look more closely at what it means to forgive others. In her weakness, I pray that God’s strength will totally shine through and open a path for all of us as a community of believers to forgive the wrongs that have been done to us and we have done to each other.

Reconciliation is not possible without forgiveness.

Father, help me to forgive them as you have forgiven me.