The Last of Ourselves

Part 6 (the final part) of a Lenten series on the seven last sayings of Jesus.

The seventh last saying of Jesus is translated as, “Father, into your hands I give my spirit” (Luke 29:46).

When Paul asked me to reflect on this final utterance as the last post in this series, I found myself feeling a little uneasy. These words have been breathed by saints and martyrs as a declaration of their trust in God, and their assurance of what comes next. Whereas, more often than not, I find myself very much stuck in this temporal realm. When faced with difficulties, I strategise. When anxious, I pre-live the many trajectories and outcomes of whatever situation I find myself in, in an attempt to impose order on the chaos of my mind. Of course, the purpose of such practices is self-preservation; an attempt to prevent fully inhabiting the moment which is the source of upset. 

Yet, as Jesus’ physical body was collapsing, organs imploding and consciousness was slipping away, he fully inhabited the situation. As Paul reflected, “I am thirsty…It is finished” affirm Jesus’ humanity. He lived through the horror of being human. But on the brink of death – that space of liminality – he still trusted in God. He still turned to God, with all he had left. He gave God the last of himself. 

While I don’t understand the physics of our spirit, I do affirm the metaphysics. 

And so, as we wait in the darkness of Friday, with all the sadness and loneliness of a world without Jesus, there is hope that this is not the end. Without jumping ahead to the comfort of Easter morning, Jesus gives us something to cling to – his future self with God.