Take a moment to be still and to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ before reading the scriptures. If you are in the company of others, invite someone to read the text aloud.
If you are gathering with your family, invite someone to read this reflection aloud.
From anguished cries to casted lots for execution spoils, Psalm 22 is a vivid and prophetic depiction of Christ’s crucifixion. As we read through the psalmist’s words and listen to Jesus’ own song, we are reminded of the lengths He went for us on the cross.
For the crucifixion of the God-man was the only mode of sacrifice that could deal with our sin, fulfil the law and conquer death. There was no other way. As He was lifted up on a tree, Jesus would be lifted high above all evil and empire, defeating the evil one. Hanging between two criminals, Jesus also extended the Kingdom’s invitation of hospitable love, far and wide.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
As we look to Jesus, all we see is love.
We see His joy in loving us, His solidarity with us, how He engages our troubles comprehensively. As we are weary and heavy laden, we see He is gentle, willing to be lowly, washing our feet and inviting us to recline against Him as we catch our breath. His love always outpaces our prodigal wanderings away from Him, He is a fountain of endless mercy, an ever present friend who goes the length of the cross to empty Himself in love. His deepest impulse is to move towards us in self-giving, us-focussed, unconditional, hesed love.
His love never runs dry. Jesus died and lives for this stuff.
Through the abandonment and mockery Jesus faced, we see how much this sacrificial love cost. In the words of the old hymn:
“We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear;
But we believe it was for us,
He hung and suffered there.”
When we see the lengths that Jesus was willing to go for us; when we see that there is no limit to His love – we can be the kind of people who put the whole weight of our lives upon the love of Jesus.
As Tish Harrison Warren puts it in ‘Prayer In The Night’:
“The reason God is trustworthy is because God is love. And his love is not like ours. Our love – from the best to the worst of us – is more akin to day and night. It comes and goes, rises and falls. At times we love purely and nobly, and it is glorious. But it always fades and falters. The sun sets.
God’s love is a constant, not night and day, but the speed of light. His love is the centre of all things and there is no darkness in it. The love of God – not sickness or weariness or death or suffering or affliction or joy – is the fixed centre of our lives and eternity.”
The love of Jesus endures forever.
Some of us have heard that Jesus loves us so often that it’s become old news. This Holy Week, let’s take time to gaze once again upon the face of Christ, seeing the mercy in His eyes.
May we not only be saved by the love of Jesus but may our whole lives be shaped by it.
As we see that Christ’s love is our homeland and as we root ourselves in it, making ourselves right at home; may Jesus’ love become the orientating, burning centre of our lives.
We believe it was for us; the beloved.
Depending on which time of day you are practicing this office, you can use the morning or evening prayer. All to pray the following words aloud.
Abba, I surrender my will and my life to you today, without reservation and with humble confidence, for you are my loving Father.
Set me free from self-consciousness, from anxiety about tomorrow, and from the tyranny of the approval and disapproval of others, that I may find joy and delight simply and solely in pleasing you.
May my inner freedom be a compelling sign of your presence, your peace, your power, and your love. Let your plan for my life and the lives of all your children gracefully unfold one day at a time.
I love you with all my heart, and I place all my confidence in you, for you are my Abba.
Into your hands I commit my spirit.
If you are gathering with your family, wait a moment and listen for the voice of God. Prayerfully share any words, pictures, encouragements or scriptures with each other by the laying on of hands.
Whether you are by yourself, or in the company of others, take time to pray for others that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, blessing them in His name.
Close your time by singing or saying aloud the Doxology.
“Fight back the dark with doxology. Doxology can detox the day.”
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen and Amen.