It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining... Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Matthew 27:45-50; Luke 23:44-47)
Pastor: Jesus entered a world that was broken, suffering, and full of grief. He grieved the loss of his friends; he wept for his people. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He entered into a lonesome, weary world in desperate need of the light of hope and peace, the promise of God's everlasting presence and love.
Congregation: Just as Jesus wept, we, too, weep for the death of loved ones, the loss of opportunities, the fading of hopes and dreams.
Pastor: God, you have given us reason to celebrate, but we often find the days cold and our hearts hard. As we await our resurrection, it’s sometimes hard for us to lift up our hearts. You understand the grief of the world; meet us in our aching hearts we pray. Hold as we walk through darkness.
Congregation: Help us. Embrace us. Heal us.
Reader: “He was despised and forsaken by men, this man of suffering, grief’s patient friend. As if he was a person to avoid, we looked the other way; he was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him. Yet it was our suffering he carried, our pain and distress, our sickness-to-the-soul. We thought that God had rejected him, but he was hurt because of us; he suffered for us. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him. He endured the breaking that made us whole. His injuries became our healing. We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep, scattered by our aimless pursuits; The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer, the sins of us all." (Isaiah 53:3-6)
Pastor: Jesus knows the feelings of abandonment, anger, and loneliness we sometimes feel. Jesus knows the depths of our broken hearts, and He alone has the power to bring beauty from the ashes in our lives. We long for the day when His work will be completed in us and in a world that groans as it awaits redemption.
Congregation: Meanwhile, we weep with those who weep, and we mourn with those who mourn.