“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

We begin our time of meditation today by stilling down, allowing any noise outside or within ourselves to fade out, and become aware of God’s presence within and around us.

Let go of any thoughts and preoccupations just for this time of quiet…

Allow any tension, tiredness or discomfort to dissipate as you relax into simple breathing…

As you breathe in, allow all your mental or bodily tensions to gather…

As you breathe out, place them all into God’s loving care just for now…

Luke’s account of Jesus’ final words from the Cross emphasizes his relationship with his Father. It’s a final act of surrender and self-giving: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Paul tells us that Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself of his divine power. This is the ultimate moment of that self-emptying. He has given up any righteous anger or revenge in forgiveness of those who tortured and killed him. He has forgiven the friends who abandoned and betrayed him. He has promised Paradise to the repentant thief. Now all that is left is to relinquish his body and spirit into his Father’s loving care. He does all this for each one of us, regardless of how we receive this gift.

We listen now to Psalm 31, which echoes both the agony of Jesus’ death and his final trusting surrender

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
You hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have taken heed of my adversities,
and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord,
for I call on you.

There were many times in Jesus’ life when he relinquished power, joining us in all our human limitations. From his birth in a stable to his death on a cross, all his life was a gift to us. There is no place of our human vulnerability where Jesus does not come to meet us and to share in the fulness of our humanity. Is there a vulnerable part of your life or the life of the world, where you particularly want to invite him to be?

Perhaps there is a part of your life that you feel invited to entrust to God’s care. Or maybe such trust feels too difficult right now. Take some time to share with God whatever is uppermost in your mind and heart, placing it all in God’s hands, as Jesus finally placed his life.

You have given all to me
To you Lord, I return it
Everything is Yours
Do with it what you will
Give me only your love and your grace
That, is enough for me.

7. 'Into your hands...'
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