Eli, Eli, Lemana Shabakthani!
This has been translated as “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” There are many Aramaic translators who will argue about the translation, but the message cannot be missed. Jesus in his time of personal sorry, anguish, and pain, cried out this call for God to comfort him. I cannot perceive the feeling of being nailed to a wooden cross and hung there while my body slowly dies. The human side of Jesus physically suffered greatly. The spiritual side of Jesus also suffered, as many have suffered since his death 2000 years ago.
I write this today in anguish, in 2018, when all seems to be well. After a full life of working, my wife and I are retired, not rich, but with some frugality, we will be able to live out our remaining years without too many problems . . . God willing. And this is where the reason I write today comes in. I am truly disturbed by the turmoil around me. And, there is little that I can do to change things. Being a retired history teacher and college literature professor, I am very attuned to how mankind has treated itself since God place us on Earth. We are not kind to our neighbors, as the Bible invites us to be. In most world religions, historically, the wanderer is welcomed as a stranger who is searching, for what, we do not know. But, God, whatever name we call Him, instructs us to open our hearts to the plight of these wayfarers and welcome them as part of our family. Historically, we have not done this, and we are not doing this today.
Political leaders around the world are again saber rattling. The words and actions of many leaders are less that reassuring to us sho lack any real voice in our societies. As I recall my discussions in my honors history classes when I taught in secondary school, I asked my students to place themselves in the rolls of the minority, who throughout history have been purged, many times violently, from society. It is happening again all throughout the world.
We are again turning our backs on God’s plans for us. What are we to do, as powerless individuals under state rule? Are we to sacrifice ourselves as Jesus did? Most of us are too scared to do this. I know I am, and I am a former Marine, who was trained to ignore fear and death. But that was over 50 years ago. I am a different person now.
What I do now is use prayer to bring comfort to those in need, and, to bring comfort to me. Being a realist, I know that physically, this may not be very affective. However, spiritually, prayer is very comforting. Knowing that God is walking with us is reassuring that no matter what happens to us, He will be with us, cradling our very souls in His loving arms.
So, I offer this prayer from Jesus: “Eli, Eli, Lemana Shabakthani!” God has not forsaken us; He walks with us as we navigate through these rough times. My brothers and sisters, who share a life on planet Earth, I wish you a very comforting day, knowing that the path you walk on is filled with the light of God.
Have a very blessed day.