Darkness: Day 41 of Lent
At midday a darkness fell over the whole land, which lasted till three in the afternoon;
and at three Jesus cried aloud,
‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’
which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
This saying is also recorded by Matthew (27:45-46). The three hours’ darkness is also recorded by Luke (23:44-45).
ELOI, ELOI. Jesus’ natural tongue was Aramaic, not Hebrew. This is one of only two occasions when the actual words that Jesus spoke are recorded and not translated into New Testament Greek. It is also the only “saying from the cross” that Mark records -and that underlines the extremity of Jesus’ suffering.
this darkness is frightening and you are utterly alone.
You hear the Temple trumpets heralding the Passover, but you are outcast and excluded from them both,
excluded from the holy city, outcast from your kinsfolk,
and in this deep, deep darkness it seems that even God has forsaken you
-left you to suffer all the agony alone;
utterly alone, under the fierce assault of all the powers of evil
and suffering all the burdens of our sin,
in darkness and doubt, dereliction and despair, and dying-alone.
This is way beyond anything we can understand, but, with the whole creation, we hold our breath while the battle is joined
and all hangs in the balance.
Lord, does that great despairing cry mean that, even in the utter darkness, you cling for comfort to familiar psalms, while faith hangs on by the skin of its teeth?
Have mercy on us for bringing you to this; and hear our prayer
for all who are outcast or lonely or despairing.