It is traditional on Good Friday to meditate on the words Jesus spoke from the cross. Taken from all four Gospels, these “Seven Last Words,” as they’re called, are rich with meaning. I’ve included them here from the King James Version:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

“Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43)

“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Lk 23:46)

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34)

“Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother!” (Jn 19:26-27)

“I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)

“It is finished.” (Jn 19:30)

I’ve been pondering all week which of these words I will pray today as a breath prayer, repeated over and over as I go about the activities of my day. After a particularly draining day yesterday, I realized I need to commend my spirit, my soul, my life to God–again–to lay it all at Jesus’ feet.

I am 33 this year, and am feeling more poignantly than I have before the horror and sorrow of this day. I will not compare myself to Jesus; His suffering is beyond anything I can imagine. I will only compare myself to the women at the foot of the cross, helpless, grieving, guilty, grateful: O my God, You have borne so much, all this, everything…

The lectionary passages for Good Friday are:
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42