Sunday, January 22, 2006

Welcomed In

A few friends and I went camping a couple of months ago. We stayed at one of those "real" amenities provided. I got up early the first morning, maybe around 6:00, walked up a nearby hill with my Bible and a journal, and found myself in a place unlike any I think I've ever seen. I could see the cliffs and the water close by, but where I was there were some trees, rocks, a whole lot of dirt, and then nothing. No people. No animals. Not even birds. It was completely quiet and completely lonely.

It made me think about Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. It made me think about him being there, all alone, face on the ground, feeling so separated from his friends on earth and so distant from his family in heaven. There was no one to comfort him, no one to encourage him, and no one who could understand what he was feeling. His Father couldn't even understand his brokenness at that point.

As I sat in that place, I realized, maybe for the first time, just how lonely Christ must've been. This is some of what I wrote:

He lived to die, knowing he would never see his friends fully understand him, knowing they would fall on him in love and run from him in fear. He lived knowing he would break up the unity of heaven: that beautiful bond that existed since eternity past. He lived expecting the moment when his own Father would be unable to look at him because he CHOSE to be guilty.

How his eyes must've lit up when someone looked at him and saw HIM! What joy when a woman's tears expressed her need for him, when his ears heard a friend say, "My Lord and my God!" It is no wonder that he sought refuge in his prayers, never drawing away from those who needed him, but faithfully joining with those who ARE him.

On the cross, when Christ was separated from everyone he longed to be a part of, he cried, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" In that moment, his loneliness invited us into him, where it is impossible to be alone. In his arms we feel the warmth of friendship, of brotherhood, and can't help but cry into his shoulder, "My God, my God, why have you included me?"