Day 7, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Don't forget, if you're in the Boston area, tonight's ecumenical service prayer service, with Cardinal O'Malley, Rev. Dianne Kessler, and Metropolitan Methodius, at St. John Chrysostom in West Roxbury at 7:30 pm.

Day 7, Forsakenness (Psalm 22: 1).

Isaiah 53:1-5, Bearing our infirmities and carrying our diseases.
Psalm 22:1-5, Abandonment.
Roman 8:35-36, Separated from the love of Christ?
Matthew 27:57-61, Love entombed.

Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross echoes the words of the psalmist and asks: ‘Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?’ Here the suffering servant bears the stigma of a common criminal’s execution. Then follows the total silence of death and of the tomb, closed by a great stone, with the two Marys sitting opposite, speechless. There are times in our lives when suffering exceeds all measures, when there are no words to express our grief, no cries, no tears, no gestures. We are there with the women at the tomb watching everything we had loved and hoped for being buried. Yet Christ’s suffering was redemptive. He bore the sorrows of all people and by his death redeemed us all. He was lifted up on the cross to draw all people to himself. In his suffering and desperation on the cross he shared and truly participated in the darkest and most fearful experience of pain that humankind can have. The closer we come to the cross of Christ, the closer we come to each other. Christ gave his life for all people and we discover an inherent, given unity when we acknowledge that we all depend equally on this one saving work. The life of the church must express this unity of indebtedness.

Giver and sustainer of life, we thank you that you know and understand when we suffer. In Christ you have even taken our infirmities on yourself and by his wounds we are healed. Grant us faith and courage when we are overwhelmed. When life’s meaning disappears behind the cloud of suffering, may we focus our attention on Christ, who suffered and yet conquered and made us one redeemed people. In his name we pray. Amen.

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