From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God's Son!" Matthew 27:45-54
I've been thinking a good deal about life forty years ago since I attended the celebration on Saturday. I was here forty years ago, working for the summer. My little sister Betsy turned twelve that July and begged to be taken horse back riding. Neither my parents nor my brother was willing to take her, so, although a novice, I took her. We went out to the riding stables and were led on some trails by a very young woman. We got to cantering and my sister's horse stumbled and threw her, dragging her for a while and breaking her leg. It was a nightmare of profound proportions and I felt so guilty. A sadness crept over me and darkness seemed to cover everything. I have never ridden a horse since that time.
The reading from Matthew for today portrays Christ's crucifixion and dying. The world changed at that moment, and the physical as well as spiritual worlds reacted. No one should suffer as he did, and yet for our sakes, Christ took on the darkness, the guilt and shame of the world. our humanity and brokenness hung on the cross with Jesus. God invites to seek the forgiveness and healing that the work of the cross made real.God calls us to not be overcome by the darkness, guilt and shame but to embrace the light and love offered to all.
Today, I ask God to help me accept forgiveness as I forgive others. May we recognize our own brokenness, guilt and shame - those things that cloud our hearts and darken our spirits. May we offer all that up, trusting God to heal and renew us today.