Tuesday: Psalms 21-22; Judges 19.22-30; Matthew 22.1-22

From: Nick Sarantopoulos 

We know how great we feel when we unite or reunite with loved ones and, in contrast, how great the pain of separation is when we separate from or lose a loved one. The pain of separation can be traumatic and gut-wrenching and very difficult to recover from. Often we may need long-term support or counseling to recover from abandonment or separation. I think that this is because we were not created for separation or abandonment, but for unity and love.

But the ultimate pain is being separated and cut off from the Father’s heart. What is life worth when one is cut off from the source of life itself, from love, unity, light, goodness, joy, hope, refuge, forgiveness, and protection?

The cry in Psalm 22 is the painful cry of separation and of being abandoned. These were the same words Jesus cried on the cross when, having absorbed all of the sin of the world, He experienced the most excruciating pain of separation from the Father.

So in our life today how can we experience the joy of a mystical union with God? Isaiah says that we delight in the Lord when we are clothed in righteousness. But how and where can we buy clothes of righteousness? We just can’t. HE is the only source of righteousness. HE provides the garments to wear to the wedding banquet in Matthew 22. We are righteous only by the grace of Jesus’ blood. We cannot buy our own garments of righteousness with our works and we cannot show up to the King’s mystical banquet clothed in anything else other than righteousness.

As Richard Rohr writes in Everything Belongs, Jesus will step in to our current state and invite us to join Him as we are, even in our loneliness, in our brokenness, in our pain, in our child-like condition in which we are helpless and cannot provide for ourselves. We do not have to make ourselves better or try to appear better than we are to be accepted, we just need to be just as we are, unfiltered, unprocessed, like the people in the streets who were invited to the Matthew 22 wedding banquet. Everyone and Everything belongs to the Kingdom of God says Rohr, the poor, the sick, the lonely, the weak, the broken, because these are the ones who have no way out, no comfortable rituals, no excuses, no intellectual comforting rationalizations, no options left, no outward appearances to hide in. These are the ones who joined the wedding banquet because they accepted the invitation and were given the free gift of garments of righteousness. As far as those who said “I am cool, I got this, I am too important, I am covered”, these are the ones who missed the wedding banquet.

It is so good to accept ourselves as we are and to live constantly in a prayerful state. He doesn’t care much for ritual lip movement, but He hears and answers our prayers to commune with Him when they genuinely come out of our hearts.

So, to any you reading this who today may be at various stages of discouragement, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, or pain, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you for your encouragement, because a state of need is the state when He will step into our lives and blow our minds away. It feels so great to expect the unexpected. I say this from my own life experience.

I live and work in Somerville, I love riding my bike on the bike path and meeting people from all kinds of backgrounds or nations. I am always asking God for guidance to make choices in life (probably just like you are). One of my pet peeves is meaningless chit chat. If you have time for coffee and genuine conversation, let me know and it will be fun. I love meeting new people and learning from their life experiences.