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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

Forsaken


Anyone who has ever been left—by a spouse, girl or boyfriend knows what it is to be forsaken. It is an empty feeling—a blow to our equilibrium from which we may be a long time recovering. Now put yourself in the mind of a man—a man cruelly hanging by his arms, pinned to a wooden cross in the heat of the day as he slowly feels his life ebb away and at the penultimate moment—just before he dies, he cries out: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He asks what every person who has ever been the one left behind asks—why? Why have you left me alone?

Now, those of you who are familiar with my writing or have read Life, Love and Internet Dating, know that I make no representation of being a theologian. In fact, I apologize to theologians in my preface, knowing that I have and will continue to make the kinds of errors that learned scholars shudder to read. But as I also said, theologians—this is my blog. If you want one of your own go ahead. You have been duly warned.

I have read many interpretations of what is going on at that moment when the man, Jesus cried out those famous words. Some have even suggested that it is evidence that Jesus was just that—a man and at the 11th hour when he knew he was dying he conceded as much asking God why he did not rescue him. When I was young in my faith I asked those same questions.

What I failed to understand is what some have called a great mystery. Stay with me on this it is a bit complicated but I hope I can unravel it for you—the way I had to in order to fully comprehend what was going on in those final moments.

Let’s start with something simple—who was Jesus? Ok, so it’s not simple but follow along with me anyway. Jesus was God. At least he was a part of God; a God who loved us so completely that he wanted us to know him and be free of the self-induced pain and suffering we had and continue to inflict on ourselves by closing ourselves off from him—by wandering around in this place we call the world—when Eden is right there alongside us—only we cannot focus our eyes to see it.

So, God sends a part of himself into this world and takes the form of a human so that he can connect with us and so he can experience what it is like to be a human—these creatures he has made and endowed with life—just a little less than him. He knows what will happen but he has to play a little trick on himself, he has to actually be human or he will never know what being a human is like. He cannot be God and human at the same time—well he can, but not till the very end.

There is Jesus, dying on the cross, and his human self (who has come into awareness that he is from God—that he is in fact the son of God—literally made of God’s flesh and spirit) cries out in his humanity—just as we all do when we are abandoned by the one we love: “Why have you forsaken me?” But it does not end quite yet—there is yet another moment when he is transformed, when God pulls back the curtain and allows the human Jesus and the God part of himself to become one and that is when Jesus says: “It is finished…..Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” It is at this precise moment when the man and God merge that Jesus can see with absolute clarity what he has seen only partially up to this moment—that he is the son and that he goes not to death but to whence he came, back to God.

When Christians talk about the trinity—the father, son and holy ghost—the three in one—they are talking—perhaps without understanding it about this mystery. The three states of being of God—God himself, Jesus –the part of himself he made human who dies—as every man dies eventually, and the risen Jesus, the Holy Spirit who because he is God cannot die and lives on in a form that we as humans can understand only as spirit—the soul without human form.

These states of being are not unfamiliar to other religions and philosophies, they exist in Buddhism, in Islam, in Judaism as well—the forms of being that we know as the physical, the metaphysical and the spiritual. The real mystery is that there is no mystery—it is we who lack the understanding who endow the simple truth with a cloak of dark and unseeing magic. It just takes a little light to show us what is really going on.

So, the next time you get the wind knocked out of you—when you are forsaken, think about your life the way that Jesus did at the end and know that your life is not over—it may hurt for a while, but the tears you are crying are watering the earth from which will spring new love—it’s but a moment away.


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