We have reached the final “last word” of Christ. The last thing he said while in the process of dying. The other things he spoke of were forgiveness and salvation — a good pairing — and relationship and abandonment — again a sort of compare and contrast of ideas.
I remember the elation I felt when I finished my least favorite class in college (German). I remember the relief I felt when I finished working my first real job (housekeeping at a run-down resort on the island where I grew up). I remember the satisfaction I felt when I finished writing my 18-page Statement of Faith in seminary (a detailed and stressful requirement for completion of my master’s degree). The pleasure I felt in finishing those requirements was real.
I don’t like being thirsty. I don’t like being hungry, either, but being thirsty always seems worse. Maybe I’m thirsty because I just got out of yoga class. Or because I slept with my mouth open. Or because I ate too many pretzels. A tall glass of water can really save the day, can’t it? Cold, clear, clean water … Exactly what Jesus did not have access to while hanging on the cross.
No one wants to be abandoned. Left behind. Forgotten. No one. Not even the son of God. We do it to him all the time. We forget to pray. We forget to read the Bible. We leave him out of our conversations. But we’re sinful human beings. We’re expected to forget about God from time to time.
It’s possible that you, like me, may never have thought that this next phrase of Jesus’ could be summed up by the word “relationship”. It is true that the word doesn’t appear in the third phrase that Jesus spoke upon the cross. Jesus didn’t waste breath and words philosophizing about relationships.
The second concept spoken of by Jesus on the cross was “salvation.” There isn’t really anything more foundational to Christianity than the concept of salvation; the idea that we can be saved from our sins. That was the whole point of Jesus coming to earth, after all. People get confused about this. They think that Jesus came to judge. To stop people from having fun. But that’s not why he came. He came to give us a second chance. He came to save us from ourselves.
It’s not often that I plan ahead for my column. I do like to have a couple ideas in mind, things to mull over as I go about my business, but it doesn’t always happen. When it comes to Advent and Lent, however, I always make a definite plan. Or at least I try to. This year when I began thinking about what my plan should be, I had no clue. Absolutely none. So I started to pray. (Always a good option.) And before long, God brought to mind the seven last words of Christ.
It’s snowing. Again. And that makes me want a cup of tea. Tea is in my blood, though it took me 40 years to be comfortable with that. I have mentioned before that my Grandma and Grandpa Fraser came from Scotland. And, like any true member of the United Kingdom, they took their tea drinking very seriously. It’s a way of life there. It’s “Tea” with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “C” and that stands for “Cure-all”.
OK, last week I said I wouldn’t give airtime to the nasty weather we’re having, but this week I can hardly ignore it: we have so much snow! It’s filling our ditches and narrowing our roads and slopping up our driveways and piling up in our parking lots and filling our vision with never-ending white, white, white! I feel better for having gotten that out of my system. The truth is, I don’t hate the snow. But I am getting tired of it.
There are two things on my mind this week and I don’t want to write about one of them. I bet you can guess what that is. It has four letters and starts with an “s” and ends in a “w”. Likewise with the corresponding four-letter-word that starts with a “w” and ends with a “d”. I have had enough of the white and blowing stuff and I refuse to give it more airtime. So … moving on to the other main thing on my mind this week. Love.