Word of the Week

On this Good Friday noon, I couldn't help but stop and re-post this one of my favorite meditations for this day.

Jesus called out with a loud voice: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
Luke 23:46

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”

As we sit here with the very last word of Christ, death has come. We have reached the end of our watching and waiting by the cross.

If we read earlier in this passage, we know that symbols of this death were all around before Jesus spoke his last. Darkness fell over the whole land. The sun literally stopped shinning in disapproval. Many signs of God’s presence in creation were gone. It was a shattering moment— a moment that people of faith or no faith at all were forced to recognize. Everything was changing. Everything had changed with those last breaths of the one who was called God with Us.

Yet, if you have sat beside the death of any, you know that the last of the last words are always hauntingly important. They are the words that stick with us, that we hear played in our head over and over after they have passed. We recite them to others. We remember them often times more than anything else the dying person has said previously.

So, if you only listen to one word of Christ, hear this:

When Jesus uttered his last, we hear in this utterance an acceptance of his death. What we hear is not a combative last wish, or an “I wish I’d done more of this” or “Why really do I have to die this way?” Or, “Why aren’t there more people here mourning my death?” But, an, “I accept the fact that even though this all is so painful and uncertain- I WILL leave this earth in acknowledgement of my Father God.”

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”

Even more so, what we hear in Christ is a TRUST in the Father to handle what he could not—the outcome.

In his last words, Jesus showed a trust beyond what his human body could feel. Jesus showed a trust beyond what his human mind could reason.

Jesus showed a trust beyond the cursing and disbelief others might be whispering under their breath about him at that moment.

He was able to let go of human life and what many would call his hour of defeat without doing anything to control it with a heart full of trust.

Brennan Manning writes: “We often presume that trust will dispel the confusion, illuminate the darkness, vanquish the uncertainty, and redeem the times. But . . . our trust does not bring final clarity on this earth. It does not still the chaos or dull the pain or provide a crutch. When all else is unclear, the heart of trust says, as Jesus did on the cross, ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

When we trust in the way of Jesus, we never really can prove the outcome. We never can be certain of what we think will happen will actually occur. We may never have our questions of “Why does a loving God allow this to happen?” answered.

But, it is this kind of faith centered trust that we will carry us through this Holy Week—to keep walking through Saturday, the darkest of all dark days.

It will be trust that will help us believe that all is not lost when the sun refuses to shine as darkness falls all over the land.

It will be trust in a God who SAID Christ would be raised on the third day that will help us leave this place in peace this afternoon.

It will be trust that helps us to also commit OUR spirits to God as we go through the valleys of the shadow of death.

Let us fear no evil. Let us remember that even walk through such a valley that God art with us. God is with us and will be through the very end.