By: Chad Hyatt
In Christian tradition, Psalm 22 is understood as the prayer of Jesus, the faithful but suffering servant, as he hung upon the cross. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ is known as the ‘cry of dereliction.’ These are the haunting last words of Jesus from the cross in both Matthew and Mark. They are also the opening lines of Psalm 22. In the ancient world, to quote the first lines of a longer literary work was to bring all of it to bear upon the minds of your hearers. Matthew and Mark are telling us that the whole of this powerful psalm is in the heart of Jesus as he lifts up his voice from the cross. The cry of dereliction is in fact a cry of faith–a profound faith that still prays even when prayer can be nothing more than anguished cry. When our emptiness and lament are addressed to God, they are, for all their sorrow and pain, powerful and profound prayer.
Prayer My God, my God, as I cry out to you, I trust in you; hear me in your great mercy.