Wednesday, April 8
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Jesus’ painful words here are a quote from Psalm 22, a Psalm of lament. To my knowledge, there aren’t many worship songs or sermons that come from Psalms of lament. These particular psalms deal with doubt, disappointment, anger, fear, and rage – thoughts and feelings that are generally not welcome, unfortunately, in most worship services.
For the past couple of years we’ve struggled as a youth ministry to get our students to regularly share testimonies as a part of our weekly gatherings. In explaining their hesitancy to do so, they’ve given two main reasons – fear of being judged and a feeling that their testimony isn’t “good” enough. I understand both reasons. For one, I’ve seen and experienced how critical Christians, myself included, can be of worship services; But the latter reason the youth give is even more understandable – usually testimonies in church are exclusively testimonies of “victory.” The testimony giver had a problem, they struggled/prayed/wandered/etc…, then God intervened and the problem was solved. I certainly believe God answers prayers and fixes problems, but in my experience many of my struggles are ongoing, my doubts are reoccurring, and I am always facing new problems and challenges; All are brought before God, but most are not “solvable” in a direct and simple way. My testimonies, and I believe most testimonies, don’t fit into the nice and neat formula that we often seen in worship services and many are not “miraculous” outside of the experience of the testimony giver.
Jesus’ words on the cross here give us permission to be honest. I hope that the Resurrection doesn’t cause us to overlook the doubt, disappointment, anger, fear, and rage that preceded it. How can you and our church be more honest in our faith? “Anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable.” – Fred Rogers
A closing prayer from Fred Rogers:
“Thank you for the little things Little things that happen every day Thank you for those tiny things Tiny things you surely send my way Little things for me alone To see, to hear, to touch Important things I care about so much Thank you for the smiles I see And the ways I learn from thee each day Thank you, God, for letting me say I thank you gratefully Thank you for today.
— Danny Steis