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Into your hands I commend my spirit …

A reflection upon words of possession from the cross … 

Luke 23:44-46
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Possession.
The theology of the religion of materialism is based around possession.
Craving ownership.
There’s a bumper sticker that I’ve seen in California: “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
Actually, he who dies with the most toys still dies.

And yet we have in the lexicon of our language the expression, “being possessed.”
It’s usually, or often – in a sense derived from the Bible – applied to some sort of evil or malevolence. Satanic possession. Possessed by evil spirits.
How much of what we try to possess ends up possessing us?

Possession extends beyond things, to people.
In relationships, possessive behaviour can become corrosive and toxic.
We can’t own one another.

But can we own ourselves?
Allowing for the gift of free will, whose are we?

On the cross, his life draining away, Jesus gave vent to something that he must have known all along: true life only can be achieved by relinquishing our pretence of ownership.

Commending our spirits into God’s hands is the ultimate demonstration of acceptance of God’s ownership of us, body and soul.

Jesus commended his spirit into God’s hands.
By doing so, he entered the portal of true life.

Now, as we place ourselves at the cross, to whom do we commend our spirits?
The prayer that we have been praying during Lent asks Christ to place his passion between our sin and his judgement … now and in the hour of our death.

Let’s not wait until the end to commend our spirits into God’s hands.
Let’s relinquish possession, except the desire to be the possession of God, and let ourselves fall into those hands of comfort and healing – and true life.

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