It may seem strange to say it, but I will anyway: I love that Good Friday makes room for lament.
On this day, we are invited again to envision a body ravaged by cruel spikes and countless lashes, to remember His writhing pain, to imagine what it must have felt to experience the physical torment. The difficult disciplines of this day give us permission to go to our hearts’ shadowy places, to acknowledge them, give voice to them.
What moves my heart most compellingly, though, isn’t the physical suffering Christ endured. It’s His admission in of feeling utterly and completely abandoned.
“My God. My God. Why have you deserted me?” [italics added]
Psalm 22 begins with the very words Christ uttered from the cross, and theologians believe His allusion is meant to help us recognize the uncanny similarity between the circumstances surrounding His death and those described in this Old Testament song.
I have to wonder, though, whether the reference to this Psalm is also a way Christ articulates His own feelings: “Why are you so far away? Won't you listen to my groans and come to my rescue? I cry out day and night, but you don't answer, and I can never rest.”
Christ’s cry from the cross was a ragged, screaming response to feeling abandoned. Not just by His friends. Not just by His followers. But by the one and only Being who actually had the capacity to rescue Him.
It was a plea to know again His Father’s abiding presence. A call for rescue. A cry that has crossed my lips more often than I care to remember.
Yet even as He called out in confusion, He acted with divinely-empowered clarity.
Though He voiced a very-human weakness, His God-given resolve stayed strong.
He felt distanced, confused, abandoned; His father’s provision remained, steadying and steadfast.
Before the miracle of Sunday, the miracle of Friday.
Thanks be to God.