(This is a meditation I was asked to write for the Episcopal Church’s Young Adults’ email listserv for today.)
Psalm 22:1a My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Today is Good Friday, and today the tomb is full. Jesus has died a miserable and tortured death. The death of Jesus was not unlike the suffering of so many in our world today. The Salvadoran theologian Ignacio Ellacuria referred to the poor and oppressed as “the crucified people.” The question of the crucified Jesus, “my God why have you forsaken me?,” is a question that echoes across history from the lips of humans who suffer.
Last year I again made pilgrimage to the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador. It was here where in 1989 Ellacuria and five other Jesuit theologians (along with their housekeeper and her daughter) were executed because they dared to write that God was on the side of the poor. Now their clothes, books, and eyeglasses are displayed in glass cases like the relics of more ancient saints. They remind us that the Christian journey is risky. Following Jesus means challenging the structures that lead to suffering.
Jesus’ cry comes from Psalm 22, which we read this morning. The Psalm moves from lament to praise, reminding us that Jesus’ tomb is also a womb. Christ, through suffering with humanity, becomes the firstborn of the resurrection, of the Kingdom of God where:
Psalm 22:26 The poor* shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live for ever!
Prayer: Jesus, after hearing your cry of dereliction, after hearing of your suffering and death, now we wait. We wait with all those who are anxious about when they will next be able to feed their children. We wait with those who wonder whether the new day will mean safety from war. Today we wait.