“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!”       Mark 15:34

Who among us has not breathed this prayer?  In our physical pain, our emotional anguish, our psychological loneliness, we feel abandoned, forgotten, forsaken.  And yet, the prayer.  “My God, my God!”  It’s a question, a challenge, an accusation; but also an affirmation, or at least a hope.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

It is a quote from Israel’s history, from her songbook, from her collective consciousness.  King David says those words at the beginning of Psalm 22, perhaps while running from Saul, perhaps at some other low point in his long life.  Israel probably said those words when trudging off to Babylon.  The thought, if not the words, may be as old as mankind.

And now, the Son of God himself feels forsaken.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the words of Barbara Brown Taylor, God is silent.  Through the anticipating terror of Gethsemane, through the worst of the pain of the whip and the thorns and the nails and the lifting up, through the abandonment and the nakedness and the taunting, no word from the Father to the Son.  God is silent.  Here, too, God Incarnate shares the human experience, the human longing for a Word, for comfort.

He looks out at the crowd, the fickle crowd, waving their palm branches on Sunday, mocking on Friday.  Much as the Psalmist was taunted, they pointedly ask, “Will Elijah save him?  He saved others, can he save himself?”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

With hindsight, from this side of the open tomb, we know the answer comes, the silence is broken, the forsaken is comforted and restored like the watercourses of the Negev, the Son is glorified.

But not yet.  It’s Friday.  The long, dry hours of waiting for death stretch ahead.  And death will bring, not release, but descent into hell.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

God is silent.