Lent: Day Thirty-four

Today has been a busy day. We needed to find a laundry to clean my daughter’s clothes as her suitcase was filled with a fine black granulated material that covered everything. We have no idea where it came from or how it got into her suitcase since the plastic ties were unbroken. She decided to get another suitcase, so besides doing laundry we also went to Wal-Mart and got an inexpensive replacement. The afternoon saw us at the Venetian where we made a visit to the Guggenheim hermitage and its Quest For Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt exhibit.

It was while looking at that exhibit I decided to make a change to the first book of my Moses historical fiction series, Chronicles of the Lawgiver. I decided to make the first book cover just the first twenty-four hours of Moses’ introduction to the world at large. I already have fourteen chapters that take place during that time frame and there was a lot I could have done with other events of that day. If I do this twenty-four hour approach, I will call the first book Beginnings. If you have read any of what I have already written and would like to comment on this decision, let me know.

Last Seven Words of Jesus

A few days ago, I said I would blog on Jesus’ last seven words/phrases for the last seven days of my Lenten observance. Today is day one and the first phrase is “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

If there was any doubt about the sincerity of Jesus’ messianic mission, any doubt after the garden episode of his full embracing of his death as the true sacrificial lamb, this should lay it aside. He begins his participation in the sacrifice with a redemptive request. Earlier Jesus had told his disciples, “I lay down my life…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” He was not the prisoner of plotting and circumstance. When Peter attempts to intercede at his arrest Jesus cuts his effort short saying, “Put away your sword! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” No, he chose to be here. He chose to die.

Sometimes when we hear this first utterance of Jesus, we look at those who maneuvered the circumstances to accomplish this horrible event and wonder how they could have possibly done such a thing. How could they be so blind, so impossibly short-sighted? Yet are we really so different? Aren’t we among those who caused this terrible event to happen? Isn’t our sin part of the eternal weight that drives those nails deeply into the rough wood of that Roman crossbeam? Are not we as guilty as they? And, weren’t our voices also part of the crowd yelling, “Crucify him”, even as was done symbolically today in the Palm Sunday liturgy? Don’t our words reverberate through history to join those of the crowd, standing that day before Pilate?

What solace we find is found in these words of mercy. We too are included in the company of ignorance and granted his forgiveness.

So it begins. We must listen, listen till the very end. We must hear each utterance, hear it to the depth of our souls. And hearing, ask the questions that our heart demands, asking where we fit, what responsibility we hold, what he would have us learn from what he said.

May God’s mercy find you today. May his prayer for your ignorance be a prayer for your redemption, for it is forgiveness we seek. O Father, forgive us the many ignorant things we do. Teach us to walk in your ways, to see the light of the glory of your name. Make us, O Lord, children of the light and worthy recipiants of this most glorious of sacrifices. In Jesus’ name, the name of our only advocate, we pray. Amen.