Have you noticed that all our work has to do with explaining things, taking control, trying to know how something works? You analyze, dissect, unravel even in seemingly simple tasks, because you want to know as much as possible about what is going on.
I want to invite you to a place of extraordinary mystery. Halfway through the Son of Man’s six-hour odyssey of crucifixion he says a second prayer. I will call it “The Forsaken Prayer”. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”? This prayer contains many deep truths which can teach you advanced lessons about prayer.
May I invite you to focus on one intensely uncomfortable aspect of this prayer? You really don’t know what is going on. At its heart lies a mystery. The first prayer was forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing whereas this second prayer could include our comment forgive us because we don’t know what HE is doing.
Yes, we write our books, articles and theories but at its heart there is a deep mystery. How can God forsake God? How can those who are one be split? How can the immortal die?
There are many truths that tumble out of this moment but please would you focus on this next one.
The Son of Man experiences the absence of his Father. Even that is a mystery, how can the all present one be absent at all?
Yet here’s a thought for you. The Son of Man came to this earth to be fully human in order to bring us, fully human, back to our God. To be human, as you may already know, (but if you don’t yet certainly will at some point) is to experience at some time an absence of God. At some point the Son of Man, to be human, would have to experience that same absence.
So here’s the question for you. Are you willing to embark via the forgiving prayer on a journey to the absence of God? It’s a journey into darkness, mystery and aloneness.
It’s a cry in the darkness “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”.
Here are a few things which will get in the way. Thinking that your faith has answers, thinking that your bible study will explain things, believing that theological disciplines will make sense of it all. Valuable as all these things are they don’t explain the darkness.
God is calling for a people who, though they will walk in the light, will follow him in to the darkness.
For it is in your darkness that you will be at your most human and most profound. This forsaken prayer is an inescapable part of the work of glory. It is also an invitation to you to follow your Lord into your spiritual battle, for whatever else this moment means a fierce battle was raging. Yet, even though this was primarily his battle he wants you to take up your cross and, empowered by forgiveness, plunge in. Remember this is all taking place in the context of work.
Are you willing to hear the call into mystery, into the Prayer of Forsakenness?
46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
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