Friday, April 03, 2015

The Seventh Word

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. ~ Luke 23:46

These words,"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," have been repeated by countless Christians on their way to death. We Anglicans pray, at the Commendation in the Liturgy for Burial, "Into they hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servant." Christians repeat these word in imitation of Jesus and because we assume these are words of comfort as we face the unknown that death names. These words can and should comfort, but that these words comfort us should not hide from us that these last words of Jesus before his death name his willingness to embrace the ice-cold silence of hell. accordingly these words, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," are every bit as frightening as Jesus's prior cry of abandonment. Jesus is not comforting himself; he is gesturing to the Father that he is ready to face the final work that only Jesus can do.

Stanley Hauerwas, "Cross-Shattered Christ"