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Running on Empty

Running on Empty

Daily Office Readings for Good Friday, 2018:

AM Psalm 95 [for the Invitatory], 22; PM Psalm 40:1-14 (15-19), 54

Lam. 3:1-9, 19-33; 1 Pet. 1:10-20; John 13:36-38 [AM]; John 19:38-42 [PM]


Psalm 22 is the “classic” Good Friday psalm, and it’s one of those where the more we say it aloud, the more we hear about “emptying.”  The Psalmist’s voice is one who we might say, in the language of 12 step groups, has hit bottom. It’s an awful place, the bottom…the place where we’ve run out of tears, the place where we feel useless and entirely emptied out.


Yet…it’s the place where we have the highest likelihood of encountering God.


Somewhere around verse 23, the psalmist gets a glimpse of God:  “For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither does he hide his face from them; but when they cry to him he hears them.”  By the end of the psalm, the Psalmist is praising God and realizing the birth of something deep within the self that, until the emptying occured, was yet unborn.


Many people have written about this glimpse of light in the darkness, whether it’s John of the Cross, C.S. Lewis, or a whole host of others.  Yet is is in the Good Friday story where we see it in the persona of Jesus, emptying himself on the cross.


Yet…is it possible that in our more empty moments, what we are connecting with is how God’s own self is emptied on the world through grace and as evidenced by all of creation?  


As spring begins to peek around the corner, and, in my end of the world, is heralded by crocuses, daffodils, and the daily slow color change from brown grass to green, we are shown time and time again, year after year, that the life of spring emerges from the cold dead of winter.  In more tropical climates, it’s the rainy season that emerges from the dry parched ground and days and weeks of cloudless skies. In the more polar regions, it’s simply the subtle melting and movement of ice. Yet that pattern is always there in creation…somewhere…illustrating that God self-empties for the world all the time…showing us that grace is always with us somewhere.


What is the empty space in your life where you are yearning to see the light of Christ?


Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri as Interim Pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd and Chaplain of the Community of St. Brigid, both in Town and Country, MO.


image: The Crucifixion of Christ, anonymous artist, from the National Gallery of Prague.  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


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Ann Fontaine

Very occasionally when you look closely you see a green flash just at the end of sunset. The green appears and you wonder if you have really seen it or is it just the staring for too long at the setting sun. But no– there it is in the emptiness of emptiness.

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