April 5th – The Derelict Deliverer

At 3 p.m. on the 15th of Nizan, a cry was heard which was so startling, so unexpected,so sacred,(narrators retained the original words untranslated), so scandalous that if you or I had been reporting it we would have omitted the words altogether.
For 2000 years all Christendom has felt the pain of those words, and has tried to explain them away or soften the implication, by saying ‘He was only quoting Psalm 22′, or ‘Someone else said it,not him’, that strangely uniquely perfect man crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem that day.But the sentence is the very heart of what we call the mystery of Christ’s Passion, or sufferings of Jesus. The words were:
“Eloi – Eloi: Lama Sabachthani; My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
and Christians have struggled with them in every age.How could he, the Son of God, who had lived in the unbroken communion with his Heavenly Father, be forsaken?, abandoned? derelict?:and that adds to the truthfulness and faithfulness of the witnesses who reported it.
The deepest root of all human experience is,and has been since the Garden of Eden, that there is an area which deliberately shuts God out of his creation.I mean, the human heart, which demands its freedom from God. ‘Leave me alone. I’ll decide what’s right and wrong for me’.That realm of darkness of guilt was an area which God chose not to invade-thus it was an area of God forsakenness, deliberately chosen by people like us;all of us; to keep God out. We call it ‘free will’. ‘I’ll do it my way, and I’ll do it myself, to please me. ‘I will be as God.’
Well, that was the area which Jesus of Nazareth entered that day, six hours into his crucifixion. He went into that place that only sinners can ever go, and in which all of us sinners choose to live in Godlessness-self-chosen Godlessness – God forsakenness. More about this tomorrow, but for now ponder these words:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions,it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5

A Prayer:
Today, Lord, when you knock on my inner door,I vow to open up and invite you in.

Now read II Corinthians Ch. 5 and marvel at v.21, which Luther described as the most awesome words in all scripture.

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Thought 4 The Day

Raphael carried his candle in his cap lest his own shadow fall upon his painting.

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