Philippians 2:5-8 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form’ of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on a cross.
Romans 5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified!
At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” Which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:33-37, 39)
This is the hour of darkness. It’s as if all time stands still as the world stops and gazes upon the cross. The powers of evil seemingly are victorious, and the voices of the holy ones are silenced. Yet this is the moment of the great paradox. Jesus humbled himself, even to death on the cross, but this event is not a tragedy. It is an act of love. God does not wait for us to change our ways in order to send his only Son. He gives him when we need him most. Paul reminds his communities of this message day after day when he calls them back to the cross.
Meditations by the Preachers
From Vanda Chittenden
Lord, you accepted the ultimate mystery in human experience, the darkness of death. Your willingness as Lord of the universe to embrace death like one of us is truly humbling. Teach us that the power of death is not to be feared but to be accepted. It is the doorway to a new life. Amen.