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It is finished.

by Lauren Wright Pittman Inspired by Matthew 27:27-50
why have you forsaken me?

It is finished. The marathon runner collapses across the finish line, knees buckling beneath the weary weight of many miles. But there is no medal awarded, no celebration this time.

Now, it is finished. The promises of a kingdom of healing, a restoration of peace, a new heaven and a new earth—all of these dreams come crashing down at the foot of the cross, at the broken feet of the Word, the one who was in the beginning, the living Word of God.

In a flash, we hear, “It is finished,” and we are not ready to give up all those dreams. We had dared to see visions and dream dreams. We were beginning to see glimpses of the world that Jesus has been telling us about, visions of the world where God reigns.

It is finished, and women no longer carry pepper spray in their purses.

It is finished, and children no longer fear adults, and neither do adults fear interacting with children.

It is finished, and Black men are free to walk or drive wherever they want, at any time of day or night.

It is finished, and all the child welfare workers moved into mansions and started teaching swimming lessons in their giant backyard pools.

It is finished, and gun manufacturers suddenly had nothing to do except to create yard art, and ammunitions manufacturers all shifted their skills into the business of making fireworks.

It is finished, and since there were no longer any borders, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents spent their work shifts holding hands and playing “Red Rover, Red Rover…”

It is finished, and the social media trolls funneled their energy into poetry: haikus instead of hate.

It is finished, and money no longer has any value except to be melted down as pavement for the shiniest and most beautiful streets you could ever imagine, and all the paper bills were cut up into shapes for collages or folded into decorative flowers.

It is finished, and people who are trans and non-binary and intersex are finally celebrated for being created in the image of God, perhaps showing up more clearly than some of the rest of us.

It is finished, and rain only falls gently across the land. Meteorologists began to compete with moviemakers for the most creative use of green-screen technology.

It is finished, and Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other faiths and people of no particular faith all gather at tables to celebrate each other’s holidays, grasping hands as a testimony to unity and breathing together a sigh that whispers YES.

It is finished, and in zoos all around the world, the cages were removed because the wolves and the lambs kept breaking out of their pens so they could be together, and every morning the leopards and the goats were waking up side-by-side, and the calves and the lions were playing together, and the bears and the lions kept eating the cow’s straw. A child was seen running through the zoo, joyfully jangling the keys to the animal pens, headed for the reptile house, to play with some snakes.

It is finished, and every sunrise is like a wedding banquet, and every sunset is a welcome of satisfying rest.

It is finished, and every tree bears fruit in all seasons.

It is finished, and the halls of legislation became a playground for children. Babies play on the judge’s bench, pounding the wooden gavel like it is a musical instrument. (pounding rhythmically like a heartbeat)

(singing, from “What Child is This?”) Good Christian, fear; for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.

(heartbeat sound stops)

It is finished. And yet. Is it finished? The fulfillment of God’s reign of justice and mercy awaits.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Pastor Cheryl

[1] A version of this sermon was preached at Lake Highlands Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, as part of a “Seven Last Words” worship service on Good Friday, April 19, 2019.


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