For Holy Week, the writer was asked to meditate on the theme of suffering.
The Collect of the Day
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. - Book of Common Prayer, p. 220
We live in sea of suffering and a vale of tears, bound by mortal coil in a sea of despond. Bur why is this so, if God loves us? Why do we get sick, feel terrified, depressed and alone? Why must we lose those we love, our parents, our spouses, even our children? Why are there famines, genocides, tsunamis and plane crashes? Woe is me, Lord. Why me, Lord? Or as my mother would say "My life!"
It did not start out this way. God created Adam and Eve and set them up in an earthly paradise free of suffering or want - with only one restriction which they promptly disobeyed. Then came the consequences, raining down on all generations to come. We are each a descendent of these original sinners and we are united in that. But there is good news.
God did not stop loving us. He never will, because He has said so. He loves us so much He became one of us. For God so loved the world, He made Himself flesh. He became one with us and shared in our humanity. Jesus knew the deepest suffering imaginable; and not just with painful compassion for the sufferings of those he met along the way, though that did cause Him suffering. He was criticized, shunned, and mocked throughout His life. He was hammered by nails to a cross where He excruciatingly and slowly died, watching His mother feel the greatest agony.
God joined with us in our humanity and He understands our suffering, and loves us all the while. We will know one day how much.
Dearest Lord, help me know always how you love me. Even in my darkest and most painful hours, let me feel your loving and understanding presence. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to share in our humanity and become flesh, so as I walk in the way of the cross I will find it none other than the way of life and peace.
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Thank you to the following for writing the 2015 Lenten Meditations: