Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen? – My God, why have you forsaken me?

Here a few thoughts on Good Friday, inspired by the bible verses in Mark 15:34 – Einige Gedanken zum Karfreitag, inspiriert von den Bibelworten im Markusevangelium (15:34)

Chad2

These children are the children of God in today´s world. They are bearing the cross for us who enjoy the privileges and the security of an affluent life. They are only a few months old, with the facial expressions of an old person facing death. They look us straight in the eyes with little or no energy to show the slightest emotion. But I can clearly hear their question:

“Why have you forsaken me?”

This is a question that touches me directly and encourages me to fight for more social justice, in my immediate surroundings as well as on a global scale, that mandates me to act for the well-being of all humans and the creation, and that is not simply of interest in a ancient religious text that can be interpreted in a spiritual context. Back then, Jesus was nailed to the cross – these children die with the same innocence in front of our eyes. Therefore, it is very important for me to always recognize the divine in every human being I have the honour to meet on my journey through life.

The suffering of the children of God is unnecessary and avoidable. Death shall be the rounding off of a fulfilled life. This week, I was able to cry a few times in remembrance of my contribution towards easing the suffering; a commitment I need to renew on a daily basis.

Chad1

Diese Kinder sind die Kinder Gottes von heute. Sie tragen das Kreuz für uns, die wir alle Privilegien und Sicherheiten einer wohlhabenden Gesellschaft geniessen können. Sie sind einige Monate alt und tragen die Gesichtsausdrücke eines Greisen der kurz vor dem Tod steht. Sie sehen uns direkt in die Augen ohne auch noch die Kraft zu haben das geringste Gefühl auszudrücken. Aber ich kann ganz klar die Frage hören:

“Warum hast du mich verlassen?”

Dies ist eine Frage die mich direkt betrifft und mich anspornt mich zu wehren für mehr soziale Gerechtigkeit, im Kleinen wie auch in Grossen,die mich beauftragt mich einzusetzen für das Wohl aller Menschen und die Schöpfung, die nicht nur in einem alten religiösen Text steht und rhetorisch-spirituel interpretiert werden soll. Jesus hing damals am Kreuz – diese Kinder sterben heute genau so unschuldig vor unseren Augen. Ich finde es für mich immer wieder wichtig, das Göttliche in jedem Menschen zu erkennen dem ich begegnen darf auf meiner Reise durchs Leben.

Das Leiden der Kinder Gottes ist unnötig und vermeidbar. Der Tod soll ihr Leben abrunden nach einem erfüllten Leben. Diese Woche konnte ich einige Male weinen in Erinnerung an meinen Betrag, den ich jeden Tag neu leisten muss, um diese Leiden zu verringern.

(Photo credits: Brian D´Cruz)

The medical emergency interventions through Doctors without Borders/MSF were giving one of the pictured infants a second chance in life. For the other one returned to God prematurely. الله يرحمه ويدخله فسيح جناته (May God have mercy on him and make him enter His vastest paradise). – Die medizinische Nothilfe durch Ärzte ohne Grenzen/MSF hat einem der abgebildeten Kinder eine zweite Chance im Leben ermöglicht. Das andere ist vorzeitig zum Schöpfer zurück gekehrt. الله يرحمه ويدخله فسيح جناته  (Möge Gott ihm Gnade zeigen und in Sein Himmelreich einziehen lassen).

For more information on my encounter with the pictured children, see the following blog entries: – Für weitergehende Informationen über die Umstände meiner Begegnungen mit den abgebildeten Kindern, kannst du die folgenden Beiträge lesen:

With MSF in Chad

Hope on the Horizon and Hope on the Horizon (the movie)

15 thoughts on “Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen? – My God, why have you forsaken me?

  1. On Sunday during Silent Worship with the Whitehorse Worship Group of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) I was praying on this question, “Why have you forsaken me?” What came was, “God is present even in the suffering.” I am continuing to meditate on the meaning of this response.

    1. Dear Malcolm,
      thank you for this inspiring link. It affirms for me the notion that in some situations, non-intervention would be the better choice for development work.
      If we aim to create and restore fairness and social justice, more of that traditional knowledge and local networking power has a chance to provide regionalized, adapted solutions for all the contemporary challenges.

  2. I was just reading Henri Nouwen and this passage appeared: “When Jesus echoed these words on the Cross, total aloneness and full acceptance touched each other. In that moment of complete emptiness, all was fulfilled. In that hour of darkness, new light was seen. While death was witnessed, life was affirmed. Where God’s absence was most loudly expressed, God’s presence was most profoundly revealed… In the solitude of the heart, in the depths of the soul, in the cloud of unknowing, we meet God.” This is affirming of what I heard the other week during Silent Worship, “God is present even in the suffering.”

    1. Dear Celia,
      thank you for that Nouwen quote. I have yet to grasp and understand how God could be present in the man-made suffering of slaves, indentured labourers, starving children, battered women, tortured prisoners, and marginalized people around the world. These are all forms of direct and/or structural violence.
      I have no problem finding God in the sufferer of the many forms of violence.
      The existential suffering that all human beings experience at some time in our lives, that deep feeling of loneliness, for me points towards that possible encounter with the Divine that Henri Nouwen describes. I consider myself fortunate because I experience other ways for establishing that human openness to connect with the Divine, I don’t have to let myself go to the point of (existential) suffering to hear that little voice…

      1. Although I do not profess to know the answer to the if-there-is-a-Loving-God-why-is-there-so-much-suffering-in-the-world question I do not believe that “God is present in the suffering” indicates that God is in any way party to the “man-made suffering”. And yet if there is “that of God” in everyone then even those who are causing this kind of suffering have God’s Presence within them. As do the sufferers. My sense is that what God does is abide in the suffering, which, again, does not mean God takes part or is active in the cause. Rather, God is simply there. God has not forsaken or abandoned or gone away from anyone. How could that be possible? Without God we would cease to exist.

  3. Celia, this is an area where I do not profess any special knowledge or expertise. However, I did just write a post of the subject of depression (http://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/in-praise-of-depression/) and Tom Wootton, the author of the book I mentioned in the post just commented referencing an article (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-advantage/201207/how-i-found-ecstasy-in-depression) by him that has some bearing on the subject of suffering which you wrote about above. Please forgive me if I am stepping into areas where I should not tread.

    1. Thank you, Malcolm. Your post created an enormous response from your readers. I find your thoughts interesting and I also enjoyed reading Wootten’s story. There seems to be as many answers to the Big Questions as there are people who ask them. We each have our own experience and sometimes that is all that we have. I am a person who likes to know the answers and yet the lesson I keep learning is that there are none. And so I do my best to Embrace the Mystery. I also like this quote: “Whatever the question the answer is Love.”

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