Father, into your hands – a personal Good Friday reflection

handsWith his last breath, Jesus prayed: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; words that remind me of my childhood nightly petition: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Both Jesus’ prayer and mine give voice to faith in God. In this similarity, I discern a difference.

As I read the gospel accounts, I behold in Jesus an admirable, enviable constancy. His faith in God that inspired his teaching (“Don’t worry about your life, what you eat or drink, or about your body, what you wear, for life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Strive first for God’s kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” – Matthew 6.25, 33) is the same faith that prompted his praying: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”

As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes wonder whether faith in God is as constant in my life. Often I’m conscious of my faith in myself. Even when I’m aware of the illusion, the self-delusion of thinking I can be and do all things, and even when I continue to act as if it were so.

Yes, sometimes I wonder: Do I commend my life to God? Not always. Sometimes not at all.

Still, I recognize the need, my need to ask this question again and again. Because my talents and resources are finite. So, too – given that my life in this world will end, although I don’t know when – are my opportunities to use them. This is true for all. Hence, in this world, there’s nothing to which and none to whom I can commend my life; for nothing and no one is as God, the One before my beginning, through my living, and at and beyond my end.

This being so, I ask: Will I commend my life to God?

If I did this more readily, regularly than I do, my life would be transformed. As I envision it…

Welcoming the gift of each day with more gratitude than I do now, therefore…

Wanting to live more fully, laboring in service of others more freely, less self-interestedly, facing trial and test less fearfully, therefore…

Waiting with courage my end, whene’er it is to come, therefore…

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, praying with Jesus with confidence, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

If I do this, then this Friday and every day forward truly would be Good.

2 thoughts on “Father, into your hands – a personal Good Friday reflection

  1. Commending one’s life to God. I often think about this Paul, particularly on Good Friday. Though I certainly wasn’t tortured by bad people like Jesus, I was the victim of a bad doctor whose incompetence almost cost me my life. When I was at my lowest and thought I was going to die, I relied on my faith, my belief in God. I constantly reflected on my 30 -40 years of life (at the time) and hoped I had lived a good enough life to please God. I also wondered if I had done enough for others, and I tried to wait with courage and commend my spirit. Still I was sooooooo scared of death, so afraid and upset about leaving so many things undone.. When I finally got well, I have tried to focus on doing better each and every day. Some days I do a better job than others, Those days are really GOOD.

    Thanks Paul for this beautiful reflection on Good Friday.


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