Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani


Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani: My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?1 –Mark 15: 14

This is the dead zone,
the Bermuda Triangle2 of the mind,
where stately ships or dancing dinghies of thought
descend to the depths, never to float again.
The quandaries spin down a vortex of perplexity.
I can understand how evil could take my stuff,
my car could be stolen, or my house burn down,
or thousands made homeless through earthquakes or typhoons,
and maybe I could fathom my mate departing,
but could my soul forsake my spirit, could I forsake my self?
Maybe if He said Oh God, Oh God, all we who have been dumped
or felt damned by people or circumstances could better understand.
But my God, my God, how can one plumb the depths
of that pain and forsakenness?
How could God forsake—

Yet that cosmic abandonment has a mysterious sort of comfort,
a magnet pulling out pain for all who’ve been forsaken,
if they look towards that strange and awesome place where
the fist of fallen man spears Love, and drives it under, for a while.

So you, Mary and John and all those beneath the Cross
who felt your God being pushed away, know you’re not alone.

So you, early apostles, beaten, imprisoned, abandoned by powers and peers,
even killed because of that primal curse,2 know you’re in good company.

So you, modern martyrs for the Faith in Sudan or North Korea,
know that you are part of a chain linking nearly 2,000 years,
the first link pounded into that hideous hill, “The Place of the Skull.”

So you, octogenarian-plus, living alone in your house,
or feeling alone in spite of the other old folks living and dying around you,
know that the One who was most abandoned feels your pain.

So you, spouse who’s been crushed with the words,
“I no longer love you,” can realize what the Master felt

And you, Christian brother, backsliding into self-forsakenness,
and you, child whose friends have all departed,
or turned their backs or gained up to scorn you,
or whose father or mother has gone to work overseas
(or start another family)
take the comfort, take the peace, of knowing
that all forsakenness has been borne
by Him who had a special claim on “My Father, My God.”
So you can still sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know
for the Bible tells me so.” Remember how he said,
He who sees me, sees the Father also.
He who has me, has the Father too..3
Those nail-pierced hands4 want to hold you close
and never let you go—He loves you so!

And all who’ve felt “Good” Friday’s fist in the face,
or watched the loved one depart or sink into the
despairing triangles of doubt, disease
and the “deep shit”5 of death,
may also sense Sunday’s rising from the deep,
feel God embracing God, and all the weeping,
yet no longer pitiful, but repentant,
(learning to trust and obey)
friends of the Forsaken One. -HPK

1–Mark 15: 14. (I know I submitted this a year ago. . .It’s my favorite “Last Words” poem, perhaps because of a divorce I went through 55 years ago, which actually brought me closer to the Cross.)
2. This is a real place, southeast of Florida, which has caused many boats, ships and even planes to disappear. 3. See John 14-16. 4. The nails were actually driven through the wrists of the crucified. 5. This was the expression of a slowly dying teen-ager, Eric, as quoted by his mother in a book with that name.