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Crucifixion by Andreas Pavias

“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” John. (Luke 23: 46)

“Having said that he breathed his last.”   A psalm again--Psalm 31:5--a cry reaching out to God from extreme pain and loss, ceding all will and power to God, “deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.”   

The Psalm continues:

“My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; / my strength fails because of my affliction, / and my bones grow weak.

Who but God will bring release, comfort, salvation, relief?  And these words come from deep within Jesus’s soul, from deep in his history, from ancient Scripture.

Ethiopian Crucifixion

"I Thirst."  (John 19:38).   

Icon of Christ Suffering

“‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” That is ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46b; see also Mark 15:34).

Jesus cries out in anguish, in Aramaic, the common language of the first-century Jewish community. It is an ancient cry from Psalm 22, speaking for a royal individual like King David or Queen Esther and speaks for the people of Israel, who suffered mightily under Egypt’s Pharoahs, during the Babylonian exile, and under Roman rule.

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent”  (Psalm 22).

Forty Martyrs of Heraklea

The mystery of suffering. 

"Christ did not come into the world to eliminate suffering.  Christ has not even come into the world to explain it.  Rather, He came to fill human suffering with His presence." -- Fr George Calciu

"Suffering is a fish bone . You can’t eat it or understand it. You just put it on the side of your plate, knowing you’ll understand it better by and by." --Martha Henry (the first person I met when we moved to Cincinnati when I was 5 years old) 

James 1:2 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds..."

Drinking the cup of affliction is a prominent theme this week.

Last Words 3.1

“Woman here is your son! … Behold your Mother”

Tissot, Crucifixion Seen From the Cross

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

Holy Friday icon fresco

The Passion of Jesus recalls the last days of Jesus’s earthly mission and his death on the Cross.  Indeed, some scholars and theologians have surmised that the early Gospel books themselves are introductions, preludes as it were, to the Passion story.