April 12, 2020

Remember

Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither has he hid his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.
Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.
The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They who seek after the Lord shall praise him. May your hearts live forever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to God.
—Psalm 22:23b-27a

Both Matthew and Mark record the opening line of Psalm 22 as having been uttered by Jesus on the cross. It is likely—I would even say probable—that Jesus finished praying this psalm, if not audibly, then in his heart. If this is the case, then the prayer was concluded not in doubt and dejection, but with an affirmation of faith. The one who began praying, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ends in the knowledge that God's face is not hidden from the afflicted, and that this fact isn't just a promise to the Crucified One, but to all who are in need of God's saving help.

In his birth in a stable, in his life as a homeless preacher, and in his execution as a criminal, I need to see that Jesus identified with those who need him most. Here I am also reminded that Christ's victory over the forces of death are also the victory of the least among us, who "shall eat and be satisfied."

As I celebrate Easter on a day when the world is trapped in the valley of the shadow of death, may I meditate on the empty tomb, and like so many millions before me, may I remember and turn to God.

To all who are afraid this morning, to all who doubt, to all who are hopeless, to all who are alone, you bring the promise of abundant life. Though I may begin by asking where you are, O God, may I complete my prayers with the joyous knowledge that not even death can limit your power. Never let me forget who you are and to whom I belong, for I pray in the Name of the risen Christ who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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