Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Last Seven Words

I grew up in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC), but I grew away from regular attendance and following. My husband (who is living in Texas right now and who attends church regularly) was telling me the other day about the special series of sermons his brother (a minister) has been giving. It's called the Last Seven Words, but it's really about the last seven sentences spoken by Christ. I'm surprised that I had never heard of the sermon.

As a Christian, Easter is a time for meditating on Salvation and what it means. First, you have to think about what Christ endured before he even spoke the words - the suffering and humiliation. Then, looking at how we live our own lives, think about what Christ said:
  1. Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do. Sometimes, because my feelings are so easily hurt, I have a tough time forgiving. The whole thing with my brother cut me deep to my heart and I'm still working on forgiving him. Matter of fact, it's a daily struggle for me. I know people who can be mad about something for a quick minute, then they shrug it off and move on. Not me. I spend days crying over things and going over and over everything about a misunderstand. So, I am going to pray that God help me to be more forgiving.
  2. Today you will be with me in paradise. This one is like a personal promise to me and all Christians, but it's also something that skeptics would just jump right on. I'm sure they'd point out that Jesus wasn't talking to us personally, and they'd harp on the word "today." But a big part of my faith is that I understand this as a promise of paradise when I die. Jesus was talking to the thief on the cross next to him. If that thief that had just known the Lord for a short time could recieve the promise, then I can. I only have to ask and accept the way he did. The skeptics will have to find their own comfort when their death comes. You can't make anyone be faithful; it's something they have to get from their own hearts.
  3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. I see this as the Lord telling us to look after each other, to comfort each other. I always think about another verse in the Bible where we are told we won't be left "comfortless." In that case, we are promised that the Holy Spirit will be with us. In this case, we are being told to be there for each other, too.
  4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? I know that there are ministers and Bible scholars who could explain this better, but this one is so personal for me. This makes me know that the Lord understands how I feel when I am at my lowest. He knows that I and all His children feel this way: abandoned and scared and tired. He knows that there are times when we feel like dying instead of dealing with one more moment of pain. He knows. That's the only way I can explain what these words mean to me: He knows. He's been there. And when Christ was feeling that way, God still loved him. When I am feeling that way, God still loves me.
  5. I thirst. Wow. The Lord - my Savior - has felt physical thirst and hunger and pain. This is another reminder to me that Jesus understands not only my soul, but my physical body. He understands my headaches, my sister's pain of losing her legs, somebody's fatigue or whatever physical ailments we deal with.
  6. It is finished. I remember when my mother was dying and we were all watching her sleep and just waiting for her to let go. My sister told her that we would all be all right and that she didn't have to worry about leaving us. I think that's what my mother was waiting on because it wasn't until then that she did just let go. She died forgiven and I'm forgiven. I have to admit, I think of this as being something I will be glad to say when I am dying. I'll be done and ready to go on and be with the Lord in Heaven. I won't have to deal with any of this world anymore. I guess I should say that I hope to be glad to say those words - you know, that I haven't left any "I love you's" unsaid, or that I have really tried my best to live as God wants me to. Either way, I am already forgiven.
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Jesus was going home. We'll all be going Home. We finished here, but we are going on to begin with our Father. I can't really express what this means to me, but I know that it makes me feel stronger. No matter what happens to me here, I have a safe place to rest in when it's over.
So that's what I'm thinking about right now. Salvation and hope and surviving the things we all have to go through every day. And, for some reason, when I was writing this and thinking about my mother, I thought of one of her favorite songs by Mahalia Jackson - "In The Upper Room."



In the upper room with Jesus
Singing in tears blessed fears
Daily there my sins confessing
Beggin for his mercy sweet
Trusting in his blessed powers
Seeking help in loving prayers
Oh in there I feel real
As I see with him the day
In the upper room with Jesus
Well I'm in the upper room
With my Lord
Oh with my Lord
Well I'm in the upper room
Oh I'm in the upper room

Peace
--Free

1 comment:

  1. A favorite of mine...

    O precious word (Fanny Crosby, 1886)

    O precious word that Jesus said!
    The soul that comes to Me,
    I will in no wise cast him out,
    Whoever he may be.
    Whoever he may be,
    Whoever he may be,
    I will in no wise cast him out,
    Whoever he may be.

    O precious word that Jesus said!
    Behold, I am the Door;
    And all who enter in by Me
    Have life forevermore.
    Have life forevermore,
    Have life forevermore,
    And all who enter in by Me
    Have life forevermore.

    O precious word that Jesus said!
    Come, weary souls oppressed,
    Come take My yoke and learn of Me,
    And I will give you rest.
    And I will give you rest,
    And I will give you rest,
    Come take my yoke and learn of Me,
    And I will give you rest.

    O precious word that Jesus said!
    The world I overcame;
    And they who follow where I lead
    Shall conquer in My Name.
    Shall conquer in My Name,
    Shall conquer in My Name,
    And they who follow where I lead
    Shall conquer in My Name.


    Peace and love.

    --Free (II), forgiven and alive.

    ReplyDelete


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