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March 16, 2008
A Meditation for Holy Week
For centuries Christians have heard the first line of Psalm 22 uttered by Christ at his last moment of life: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” This line has been interpreted in many ways but perhaps we could take the full text from which the line originates and pray its words this week. Surely Jesus knew the full text and no doubt he prayed the following silently when his energy prevented him from continuing out loud. Let us pray with Him
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I have cried desperately for help but still it does not come.
During the day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer, I call at night, but get no rest.
But you are enthroned as the Holy One, the one whom Israel praises.
Our ancestors put their trust in you; they trusted you, and you saved them.
They called to you and escaped from danger; they trusted you and were not disappointed.
But I am no longer a human being. I am a worm, despised and scorned by everyone!
All who see me make fun of me they stick out their tongues and shake their heads.
“You relied on the Lord,” they say. “Why doesn’t he save you?
If the Lord likes you, why doesn’t he help you?”
It was you who brought me safely through birth and when I was a baby, you kept me safe.
I have relied on you since the day I was born, and you have always been my God.
Do not stay away from me! Trouble is near, and there is not one to help. . .
My strength is gone, gone like water spilled on the ground
All my bones are out of joint; my heart is like melted wax.
My throat is as dry as dust, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have left me for dead in the dust.
An evil gang is around me; like a pack of dogs they close in on me; they tear at my hands and feet.
All my bones can be seen. My enemies look at me and stare
They gamble for my clothes and divided them among themselves.
Oh Lord, don’t stay away from me! Come quickly to my rescue!
Save me from the sword save my life from these dogs.
Rescue me from these lions; I am helpless before these wild bulls
I will tell my people what you have done; I will praise you in their assembly;
“Praise him, you servants of the Lord! Honor him, . . .worship him you people of Israel!
He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering; he does not turn away from them
but answers then they call for help.”
In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done; in the presence of those who worship you I will offer the sacrifices I promised. The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him. May they prosper forever!
All nations will remember the Lord. From every part of the world they will turn to him; all races worship him. The Lord is king and rules the nations.
Psalm 22: 1-28