Words from the Cross 4

April 6, 2020


Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?

My God, my God,

why have you forsaken me?

Matthew 27: 46; Mark 15:34





Christianity doesn’t explain suffering. 

It shows you what to do with it.

-Von Hugel-





Opening Meditation


That awful spine-chilling cry!

helpless and wracked with pain,

even Christ felt

utterly alone,



reaching rock bottom,

can anything be worse than feeling God is blind,



or dead?


‘God was in Christ’

and Christ’s agony

in that specific moment of time

has become timeless;

become part of the very being of God.

‘God was in Christ’,

and so God knows

what it is to despair

and bids us to trust

and go on trusting;

bids us to hold on

and keep holding on,

though it be

only by our fingertips.


Help us, father, when things are at their worst,

to hold on to the truth that in Christ

you are in the situation with us.

Whisper to us again that firm ground lies beyond the quagmire;

light beyond the darkness;

and rejoicing beyond the despair.  Amen



To consider…


  • What events in the world seem particularly unfair?
  • In what situations in my life have I felt despair? When have I felt abandoned?
  • In what times in my life did I feel God’s love for me in spite of all I was going through?
  • When does human sin cause suffering? Why do we have to be careful about saying that the actions of a certain people or groups have caused suffering?
  • Why do we have to be careful about saying that God causes suffering- that suffering is God’s will?
  • Can there be love, divine or otherwise, without the knowledge, or experience of suffering?
  • ‘A world in the clutches of sin can rarely, if ever, choose between good and evil. Its only options lie in relative degrees of evil or a variety of goods that all contain the seeds of evil within them’. (Alan Ecclestone) Is that true?




Closing meditation


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


Lord Jesus, by your cry of desperate honesty,

Rid us of superficial faith

Which is afraid of the dark.

Not so that we might be justified pessimists,

But so that we might discover profound joy,

Give us, when we need it, the courage to doubt, to rage, to question, to rail against heaven until we know we are heard.


We do not ask for easy answers to hard times;

There are many who can offer these.


We ask for a sense of your solidarity,

That will be enough to let us know that we do not walk or cry alone;

That will enable us to go through the dark

And find light again in the morning.




To think about:


  • Sin is not about breaking rules, it’s about breaking relationships
  • Complicated problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers
  • We should think of ourselves as having to do something for God that nobody else could to. JH Newman
  • Before God created the universe, he abandoned a part of himself, to leave an emptiness in which we and the world could exist in freedom. In the emptiness are scattered sparks of his shattered divinity.  It is our duty to redirect them back to God.  Jewish legend



In a Country Church


To one kneeling down, no words came,

only the winds song, saddening the lips

of the grave saints, rigid in glass,

or the dry whisper of unseen wings,

bats, not angels, in the high roof.


Was he baulked by silence?  He kneeled long,

and saw love in a dark crown

of thorns blazing, and a winter tree

golden with the fruit of a man’s body

-RS Thomas-

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