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.
But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified!
Mark 15:33-37, 39
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!”
Please take time to reflect on the image below.
Meditations by the Preachers
From Vanda Chittenden
Jesus deeply connects to what it means to be human. Whether one lived in the first century or lives in the twenty-first century, being human is full of ups and downs, unexpected detours and sudden stops. Jesus embodies the fullness of humanity.
The cross represents for us the fullness of the human experience and gathers up every emotion, every aspect of a life lived in a broken, sinful world. The cross is the unwavering, unrelenting, unyielding hardness that squeezes our hearts with sorrow, that steals our breath little by little, that drains us, as we watch helplessly, of the life we hold dear.
Jesus surrenders his own life to the hard wood of the cross. Jesus offers his very own self on the cross to give us hope in the midst of all that might cause us despair. Out of the soil of sorrow and fear will sprout a new life, a resurrection life. But first Jesus must surrender to the cross, must commend his very own spirit to the care of his loving, faithful Father.
We who walk the way of the cross, who are followers of Christ Jesus, also are called to surrender our very selves to the cross. We do so trusting that as we commend our own lives, our own spirits, over the the care of our Loving God we will experience glimpses of the resurrection life that Jesus has promised, indeed, that Jesus has victoriously claimed for us by destroying death by his death thereby ushering us into newness of life in him.
As we draw near the end of our Lenten journey with Jesus we are invited to commend, to surrender, our very deepest selves to God trusting that we will experience abundant joy. Joy that strengthens us in our weakness, that promises life in the face of death. Joy which calls and sends us out into the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ victory over death once and for all.
I like to consider Jesus’ last cry on the Cross. Jesus sucked in everyone including myself and all sins, all emotions, all lows, all problems into his sacred body on the Cross. It hurt him. And then he released it in his loud cry and death, once and for all. Like a hero he faced all our sins and their consequences and overcame them. Like a Mother he gave birth to a new me, a new people and a whole new world which has yet to fully come to fruition. The Lord was a warrior of patience; one with relentless determination. He kept his eye on the prize which was me and you. Throughout my life, whatever happens, deep down I have always felt that all is well. This can only possibly happen because I have this moment of Jesus on the Cross. No matter what happens no one and nothing can take that away from me or any of us. And this is a great source of courage.
I also think that I should be joyful when I see Jesus on the Cross or participate in the liturgy of Good Friday. Yes, this is a terrible day. And yet, I firmly believe that God would not have had it any other way. If there is ever such a mysterious concept as destiny, Jesus dying on the Cross is it. He once told a mystic saint that he would die on the Cross a million times over for us. Jesus wanted to do this for us in spite of how sinful we may have once been or continue to be. This is his way of showing us and proving to us who and what he is. I remind myself of this especially on Good Friday. Jesus wanted to do this.
And so, I hope and pray we may all more and more come to live and bathe in that moment of Jesus dying on the Cross for us. May we live in his light and love forever. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, bearer of our sins,
remind us that death is not the end.
Light the way out of this darkness,
and reveal the path to new life.
We pray this through Christ, our Lord.