The Fourth Word: “My God, my God…” (April 3, 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…

From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. At three, Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?” (Mark 15:33-34; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: last week and during this Holy Week, we are 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 and one hour 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 “The Torrents Overtake Me,” my response to Jesus’ fourth word from the cross.

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

A year ago I came up from the water
The river flowed around me as I watched
A spotless dove descend.
I heard the thunder from the sky say,  “You are my son.”
I stared in wonder at the dove and knew
How this would end.

In back I slept right through a raging storm out at sea,
The water swept up o’er the deck and then
We started to sink.
I told the squall, the waves, the winds: “Peace be still.”
And through it all you were with me, so what
Was I supposed to think?

My God, why did you forsake me?
Let the current pull me and the torrents overtake me?
My God, you could have emptied my cup
But we both know I’ll never give up.

A week ago I rode into Jerusalem;
The people showed their love for me that day,
How could that offend?
Then yesterday the people turned their backs on me
I was betrayed, abandoned, and denied
By those who are my friends.

My God, why did you forsake me?
Let the current pull me and the torrents overtake me?
My God, you could have emptied my cup
But we both know I’ll never give up.

My hands are screaming at the blinding pain of the nails,
And I keep dreaming that this fight will end
So I can die.
My breath is gone, I can’t keep any air in my lungs,
The pain goes on so I know I’m still alive,
All you who pass by —

As for me, I am a worm and no man,
Scorned by the people,
All who see laugh me to scorn
They curl their lips and wag their heads and say
He trusted in God, should not God rescue him?
Like the nails their words stung
But I chose this cup before the world was young.

But my God, why did you forsake me?
Let the current pull me and the torrents overtake me?
My God, you could have emptied my cup
But we both know I’ll never give up.

…Praying For…

Dear God, Jesus took on all human pain on the cross, even the pain of feeling abandoned. Thank you for knowing how that feels, and help me to wish to seek you when I feel alone. 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.

One thought on “The Fourth Word: “My God, my God…” (April 3, 2012)

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