The Last Word on Pain (2018-0304)

. 3 min read

Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
to Worship, Psalm 22.1-18(22)
Mark 15.22-41
Lost in Vientiane
      Not abandoned, not forsaken
      But … alone and lost
a child who always had dad and mom nearby, this was a crushing experience.
Among my deepest pains. Others have been my losses, my griefs. In this one, I
myself was lost.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me? (Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46)
fourth word
      … Pain
      Only word in Mark (first gospel account)
and Matthew, the other 6 are in Luke (3) and John (3)
      Primacy (either by being first or being central)
Moltmann: What sets Jesus’ death apart from deaths of martyrs of all faiths and
philosophies … rather than hope or defiance – God-forsaken (146-152).
      Moltmann: the cross is the beginning of
the trinitarian history of God (uncertain page #). In the cross, “God is dead
and yet not dead” (203). Jesus, the Son of God, dies. The Father forsakes the
Son. The Spirit, I assume, grieves. I assume that because the Scripture itself
does not speak to that dimension of the mystery of the cross. The Scripture is
clear that Jesus dies. And Jesus is clear that he is abandoned, forsaken, by
his Father.
      I have no idea what that would feel like.
The Scripture doesn’t tell us either, doesn’t offer us a psychological analysis
of Jesus. We do know that Jesus spoke in unique ways of the nearness of God’s
kingdom (Mark 1.15). And Jesus spoke of God as “my Father” in a way that was
exclusive to him, unique and personal (Moltmann 147). To be abandoned, to be
forsaken, by one you love who is at the same time near and intimate is
exquisitely painful.

Power & Violence
words from the cross, and the cross itself, mean that the Father is to be found
when all traces of power, at least as we understand power, are absent; that the
Spirit’s authoritative witness is most clearly revealed when all forms of human
authority are lost; and that our God’s power and authority is to be found
exemplified in this captive [Jesus, the Son] under the sentence of death
(Hauerwas, 64).
frightening we find a God who refuses to save us by violence” (Hauerwas, 65).
strength [power] is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12.9; Moltmann,
Promises & Questions
37.25 – I have never seen the righteous forsaken
Jesus, the righteous one, is forsaken by God
is what it takes for God to say, “I will never leave you or forsake you”
(Hebrews 13.5; Deuteronomy 31.6-8; Joshua 1.5).
yet, there are times when we experience God-forsakenness. It is tremendously
important in those moments to recognize that Jesus, more intimate with the
Father and the Spirit than we have ever been, experienced that too. It is
important to recognize that Jesus final words, in Mark’s gospel, were a cry of
abandonment, a question followed by no answer, a question that remains open: “My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Moltmann, 153)
Revelation &
the irony that the centurion recognizes him as God/Son of God in his
God-forsakenness (147) NOT in his heroic martyr’s death.
Hauerwas: “God is most determinatively revealed in ‘My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me?’” (20)
“God is not greater than he is in this humiliation. God is not more glorious
than he is in this self-surrender. God is not more powerful than he is in this
helplessness. God is not more divine than he is in this humanity” (205).
Hauerwas, Cross-Shattered Christ
Moltmann, The Crucified God