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  • Jim Lovelady

Day 18: Another Eloi

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? 

How long will you look the other way? 

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, 

with sorrow in my heart every day? 

How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 

 Psalm 13:1–2

The Roots--Dear God 2.0 (lyrics below the video)

Dear God, I'm trying hard to reach you

Dear God, I see your face in all I do

Sometimes it's so hard to believe it

But, God, I know you have your reasons

(Uh huh)

They said, "he's busy, hold the line, please"

Call me crazy, I thought maybe he could mind read

Who does the blind lead? Show me a sign, please

If everything is made in China, are we Chinese?

And why do haters separate us like we Siamese?

Technology turning the planet into zombies

Everybody all in everybody's dirty laundry

Acid rain, earthquakes, hurricane, tsunamis

Terrorists, crime sprees, assaults, and robberies

Cops yellin', "stop, freeze, " shoot him before he try to leave

Air quality so foul, I gotta try to breathe

Endangered species and we runnin' out of trees

If I could hold the world in the palm of these

Hands, I would probably do away with these anomalies

Everybody checkin' for the new award nominee

Wars and atrocities; look at all the poverty

Ignoring the prophecies, more beef than broccoli

Corporate monopoly, weak world economy

Stock market topplin'

Mad marijuana, Oxycontin, and Klonopin

Everybody out of it?

Well, I've been thinkin' about

And I've been breakin' it down

Without an answer

I know I'm thinking out loud

But if you're lost and around

Why do we suffer?

Why do we suffer?

(Uh huh)

Yeah, it's still me, one of your biggest fans

I get off work, right back to work again

I probably need to go ahead and have my head exam

Look at how they got me on the Def Jam payment plan

Well, I'm in the world of entertainment and

Trying to keep a singing man sane for the paying fans

If I don't make it through the night, slight change of plans

Harp strings, angel wings, and praying hands

Lord, forgive me for my shortcomings

For going on tour and ignoring the court summons

All I'm trying to do is live life to the fullest

They sent my daddy to you in a barrage of bullets

Why is the world ugly when you made it in your image?

And why is livin' life such a fight to the finish?

For this high percentage when the sky's the limit

A second is a minute, every hour's infinite

Dear God, I'm trying hard to reach you

Dear God, I see your face in all I do

Sometimes it's so hard to believe it

Humanity has been shaking its fist to the heavens asking the questions that express massive disappointment and frustration regarding the state of the world and the apparent inactivity of the One who has said he is in charge. These questions/frustrations/doubts show up in every art form. It's in countless songs. It's one of our soul's deepest cries.

Why have you forsaken us?

The doctrine of the Trinity is the more mysterious and glorious paradoxes in the Christian faith. Christians affirm that God the Father is God, God the son is God and God the Holy Spirit is God. It's a mystery that the theologians have tried to make sense of for centuries and "One God, three persons, distinct yet inseparable" is their final answer.

"Oh, now I get it. Thanks!"

We may not understand it but the doctrine of the Trinity actually liberates us to sing "Why have you forsaken us?" to God…with God.

Go to the hour of the crucifixion of the Son of God and you have a Trinitarian mystery on your hands. Did God die on the cross? Well, yes…and no…it's complicated…no, it's a mystery and the most profound moment of the crucifixion is Jesus' cry from the cross, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

I can't begin to unpack the density of the Eloi. It could be one of the most profound statements in all the Bible but for today let's think about how this statement of Jesus is his way of joining humanity in crying out…

"How long, Oh Lord, will you hide your face forever?"

Jesus--who is God--says to God, "why have you forsaken me? Why have you left me alone? Where did you go? Are you gone forever? Did you really ever exist in the first place? Is this all one sick joke?"

In the Eloi, Jesus spoke the words of the Psalmist. He cried out the deepest longings of humanity's doubt…and he wasn't putting on a show for us; he wasn't feigning sympathy for humanity. He literally wasforsaken by God and it was the single worst experience of his life and in that moment he went to a song. He quoted a Psalm of David, "written to the choirmaster" to the tune of "The Doe of the Dawn", a song. Psalm 22:1…

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 

It's the song Jesus sings in his hour of desperation. It's the song we sing. It's a song I've sung many times in my life.

I have felt the dark night of the soul, the unbearable weight of nothingness as I stare into the abyss of the absence of God. Putting a happy face on things that are sad is really difficult for me and even feels disingenuous. I have struggled with depression and have tried medication. I know what it feels like to be suicidal and to be drowning in deep ambivalence. I've hit rock bottom. This is why the Eloi statement of Jesus is so powerful for me. It is Jesus' rock bottom. It is Sheol, his hell. All the challenges of his life leading up to that moment--and there were a lot!--were nothing compared to the horror of his Father's absence.

Jesus knows the abyss.

I don't understand how it works but when I cry out to God in desperation and uncertainty "where ARE you?!" it's not that there comes a response from God (that's the definition of feeling forsaken, right?). It's that God the Son sits with me and we both look into the abyss and say, "Where are you God?" and Jesus is content to do that until my faith is at a place where I realize what has just happened. It's not that God is missing when I look into the abyss of doubt and uncertainty, pain and suffering. It's that God is right next to me! Closer even…ever so close, so close that I couldn't even tell who it was that was crying out to him, me or Jesus. This paradox is difficult to explain at a theological level but at an experiential level it satisfies a deep longing that only God could satisfy…I am not alone. I will never be alone.

Today you may not feel forsaken by God but there will be times where you will feel the threat of loneliness. It sneaks up on you. It's a subtle feeling that doesn't make itself obvious (that would be too easy). It comes out in your emotions. Whenever you are sad or discouraged, defeated or frustrated by whatever life throws at you, remember that you are invited to fellowship with God in a most extraordinary prayer, the song of the Eloi.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I confess my assurance that in my deepest isolation and doubt, in the darkness of my Sheol, I am alone with you. Thank you for letting me doubt you. Forgive me when I doubt you. I believe. Help me in my unbelief. Oh, my soul, put your hope in the Lord. Amen.

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Kamala King
Kamala King
23 abr 2019

And after looking down into the abyss together, the arm around your shoulder gently turns you so your looking at him. And he keeps doing that every time you look down again.

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