Psalm 22:1-2
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
    and by night, but find no rest.

Mark 15:33-39
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

If there is any verse in Scripture that reassures us that Jesus was fully human, that he completely identified with our mortal experience, it is that moment when he cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  He didn’t only echo the Psalmist—his words capture an experience each of us has had in the midst of our own suffering. 

It’s often asked, “What’s so good about Good Friday?”  That is a question we’re invited to ponder today and tomorrow, especially as it relates to our own life and our call to make our personal life conform ever more closely to Jesus’. 

Last night, as the shadows lengthened and the darkness deepened in our Tenebrae readings and meditations, we journeyed into the darkest moment—when all lights were snuffed save the Christ candle, which was obscured but never actually extinguished.

As we walk the paces of this Good Friday and Holy/Silent Saturday, I wonder whether we might not discover the flicker of the divine Presence abiding as we drink the cup of suffering in solidarity with those who today are crying out in earnest, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”

Prayer (by Kate McIllhaga):
Cup of Suffering
God of birthing,

God of death,
God of ever-present breath,
God of steadfast faithful love,
God in Christ in borrowed stall
God in child so weak and small,
      hear us as we pray:

      for those who bear heavy losses,
      for children at risk,
      for those camped out
      in fields of despair,
      for those without work.

            Lord hear us,
Lord graciously hear us.

God, mother, midwife, judge,
housewife, shepherd, father, friend,
knee-scarred king on throne of wood,
man of sorrows in borrowed grace,
gardener, stranger on the road,
      hear us as we pray:

      for those who drink the cup of suffering,
      for those who watch over the sick,
      for those who proclaim the mystery
      of your risen glory.

            Lord hear us,
Lord graciously hear us.

God of birthing, God of death,
God of life beyond the grave,
      hold out the cup of salvation
      to those who serve your needy world.
      Save us from tricking ourselves
      into thinking that we are called
      to privilege rather than service.  


May the man of sorrows,
   the crucified Christ,
   struggle with us.
As we wrestle with our demons,
   may the glorified Christ
   enter our pain,
   that we may receive a blessing
   in the morning.

Music (click the link): Were You There?  (A Capella by Pegasas, with thanks to Julie Forgaard for sharing!)


© 2023 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC