In the words of Jurgen Moltmann: Good Friday

At the end of Christ’s passion, on Golgotha, the place of execution, we hear a despairing cry to God. “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

For three hours he hung nailed to the cross, apparently in silence, locked in agony and waiting for death. And then he died with this cry, which expresses the most profound abandonment by the God on whom he had pinned all his hopes and for whom he was hanging on the cross.

close-up the face of Christ in Cimabue's Crucifix

Detail of Cimabue Crucifix, c. 1265 (CCL carulmare)

We shall never be able to get used to the fact that at the very center of the Christian faith we hear this cry of the godforsaken Christ for God. We shall always attempt to weaken its effect and to replace it by “more pious” parting words. What Christ was afraid of, what he wrestled with in Gethsemane, what he implored the Father to save him from, was not spared him. It happened on the cross. The Father forsook the Son and “God is silent.” The Son was forsaken by the Father, rejected and cursed. He bore the judgment in which everyone is alone and in which no one can stand.


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