First Word | The Seven Last Words of Christ
by Jay Fadden
This past weekend, I was attending an educational seminar at my church about the seven last words of Christ, and it got me thinking about how that relates to me in today’s world. I would like to try a Lenten exercise on those seven last words of Christ. I am going to reflect on them from the perspective of a middle-aged, married father of three children living in today’s hectic and busy world. This is NOT a theological take. I would suggest you research that on your own, and I think you will find it very rewarding. This is a chance for me to reflect on what Jesus said on the cross and how that resonates with me in the world in which I find myself. I would ask that you do the same with your own situation.
The first word is from Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
There are so many different ways I could interpret this quote in my life. The first word, “Father,” is a direct communication. It is the realization of the love He has for us and the ability to talk to Him directly. It is both reassuring and comforting to know that the Father listens and that we can bring our thoughts and challenges to Him. It is important to note that He listens. He is not a wall, but a loving Father who wants to communicate with His children. The second words, “forgive them,” resonate with me because in today’s world, we seem to be quick to want people to forgive us for our transgressions, but sometimes find it difficult to forgive others for theirs. That can also mean that we cannot always forgive ourselves, and yet the Father forgives us. Forgiveness is love and opening oneself up to love.
But it is the last few words that I would like to tackle: “for they do not know what they do.” I can get angry or short-tempered with my family, friends, or people I do not even know when I perceive that I have been slighted. But maybe they do not know what they are doing to me, and I may not know what is going on in their life to make them act that way towards me or others—the pain or stress they may be feeling, the hurt that weighs heavily on their hearts and souls. This is when I need to step back and not only forgive them, but also reach out and try to comfort them if possible and alleviate that pain.