Today is Good Friday. I love Easter, I love the way the world has the opportunity to stop and take notice of the ineffable beauty of the death and resurrection of Christ. To reflect on the mysterious way God’s love has been made manifest in our world.
Psalm 22 is a poetic, heart wrenching portrayal of the crucifixion. When Jesus cried out in anguish “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” He was not, as many of us were taught, experiencing the horror of abandonment by God. Rather he was pointing to the whole psalm- much like when you sing the first line of a song we can sing along with the rest of the melody. The psalmist pours out his heartache and suffering to God, and declares in verse 24:
” For he as not despised my cries of deep despair. He’s my first responder to my sufferings, and when I was in pain, he was there all the time and heard the cries of the afflicted”Psalm 22:24 Passion Translation
God did not abandon Jesus on the cross, and he does not abandon us, either. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us”. Jesus and the Father are one, who can separate them? And nobody is outside of God. The world-all of us-move and live and have our being in God. Breath by breath, beat by beat.
‘God formed man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul’Genesis 2:7
When it comes to Christianity, I guess I would have to identify with the ‘deconstruction’ movement. At one time I was very evangelical in my beliefs, however over the course of my life, particularly when my son died certain things just didn’t add up.
The idea that God would give us one chance to say a sinners prayer and if we fail to, we are destined to an eternity of separation where we experience divine wrath. It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense because the very air we breathe is given to us by God. ‘Ruach’ is the Hebrew word in the Torah which means ‘breath’ or ‘spirit’. when we inhale, we breathe God in. In our exhale, God breathes us in…Every breath we breathe is given to us by God.
A beautiful passage in Ephesians joyfully describes how God knew us ‘before the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4). If we are alive, we are pre-destined, cherished and loved. It breaks my heart that the love of the Father is constantly maligned…”Yes he is love, But….” To me there is no ‘but’. God is in essence love, and what good parent would abandon their child? No, the Father will go to the ends of the earth to bring us to himself, and I truly believe that the love of God is irresistible. In the end, ‘he will draw all people unto himself.’
Deconstructing my beliefs allowed me to blow out the cobwebs of things that I thought or did based on my insecurities or feelings of lack- or just the hinderances in my own soul that led me to believe that love has strings attached. I have found profound comfort in the ancient mystics. Both Christian and from other religions. They all speak about this love affair we have with God. A two way joyful and honest dialogue which openly welcomes unanswered questions and unknowing.
What captures me today is the drama and sorrow over the way Jesus’ body was broken open, so much so that it was unrecognisable…But really it must be so, when you consider the brokenness of humanity. Even the most privileged among us experience heartbreaking loss and grief. It seems the only course of action for a God who is All Loving is to break open and in so doing pour out this immense solidarity and incomprehensible salvation.
And this is for all. “Gather up all the fragments” said Jesus “Let nothing be wasted” .