The fourth word of Jesus from the cross is a timely question for our moment: Why? Join our pastor Rustin Smith and friend Jon Bowles (pastor at Beggars Table Church) for a reflective conversation on this word.
Then return to this page below to join our community in prayers and use the discussion guide for personal devotion, in your family, and Group.
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you
with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Leader: Please make your requests known to God.
(A moment of silence may be kept.)
Leader: Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Leader: Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.
In our series, Seven Words, we are looking at the seven times Jesus speaks from the cross. So far, we have looked at: 1. Forgive, 2. Paradise, 3. Behold, and this week, 4. Why.
Read Psalm 22
100 years ago, German theologian Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt said, "If you want to start a big movement, then go ahead and make a big splash; if you want to be renowned, then go ahead and sound off. But if you want to see God’s kingdom advance, stand before the cross and be quiet."
Read Mark 15:33-34
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
What stands out to you from this reading?
What stuck with you from this week’s conversation? Why?
Reflect on this Brennan Manning quote:
“Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic. When the shadow of Jesus’ cross falls across our lives in the form of failure, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, unemployment, loneliness, depression, the loss of a loved one; when we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own pain; when the world around us suddenly seems a hostile, menacing place – at those times we may cry out in anguish, “How could a loving God permit this to happen?” At such moments the seeds of distrust are sown. It requires heroic courage to trust in the love of God no matter what happens to us.”
What are some ways “the shadow of Jesus’ cross” falls (or has fallen) across your life? How did you respond? What does “heroic courage to trust in the love of God” mean in your situation?
Spiritual Bypassing is "the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks." Have you experienced pressure from others or yourself to skip over problems with easy spiritual language? What is a healthier way to process the hard things we face in life?
Take some time to pray for one another and for any need, great or small.
Go with a blessing:
As you have been fed at this table, go to feed the hungry.
As you have been set free, go to set free the imprisoned
As you have received, give.
As you have heard, proclaim.
And the blessing that you have received
from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
be always with you. Amen.
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