The First Word: “Father, forgive them…” (March 29, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing. (Luke 23:32-34; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: today, tomorrow, and during Holy Week, we will be encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write it and one to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “I am a Thread,” my response to Jesus’ first word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

I am a thread: see me shine in the sun.
You may never notice if I am the only one.
A thread is so thin, insubstantial, and frail,
And with a set distance from beginning to tail.

So please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

We are all threads: see us shine in the sun.
But weave us together and together we are as one.
The fabric so thick, so substantial and strong;
There’s never a question of “do we belong?”

So please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

Pull on a thread and you pull on each one;
So quick to unravel, so slow to weave again.
Father, forgive me: I don’t know what I do;
And grant me the eyes to see the fabric like you.

And please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you knit all of humanity together. Help me see how my actions and inactions threaten the thriving of my neighbors both here and far, that I may extract myself from the domination systems of the world, with your help. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world

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