“I Thirst.” -Jesus (John 19:28)
One of my favorite books right now is Prayer by Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson. If you’ve been in worship with us recently (pre-COVID) you’ve probably heard me talk about this work of art. It combines an artist’s prayerful image and a pray-er’s artistic eye for what God might teach us in this moment. One of the prayers strikes me every time I accidentally find it again: May my limitations be doorways to partnership and relationship rather than reasons to feel shame and isolation.
In our world, we’re often given the impression that the most powerful and celebrated person should be the one with no needs. We’re told that what we should be striving for is self-sufficiency. Now certainly, we all have gifts and skills and assets that God has blessed us with and it is our job to use them! We believe that the world suffers when we aren’t who God created us to be, and we when we don’t use the gifts God gave us. And at the same time, having gifts and skills and investing in your world is not the same as being need-less. Even if you grew all your own food, built your own home and sewed your own clothes, we’re learning more and more these days that humans don’t survive well without connection. It turns out, we’re actually created to need one another. In fact, our needs have a way of weaving us together in relationship with one another beautifully. I cannot be everything! And therefore, I get the joy of offering my needs and skills in combination with others.
I think this is at least one of the things Jesus models for us from the cross. In his darkest and most dreadful moment, he offers these words to those around him: I thirst. Jesus doesn’t shy away from having needs or seeing the needs of others. In fact, he recognizes those and weaves people together across lines of ‘need’ and ‘gift’. It turns out that all of us are actually on both sides of that coin. So, in this time when we may all be acutely aware of our limitations, our loneliness, or our barren pantries, know that it is following in the footsteps of Jesus to allow our limitations and needs to be doorways to relationship.
Holy God, give us eyes to see our own needs, our own gifts, and the opportunities for relationship with you and others. Help us to see ourselves and others as you do. Thank you for being the sort of God who shows us what it means to truly be human. Amen.