Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.
Dearest passionate and loving Lord,
This is my first ever published letter to you. I am excited to do this, and I promise that it will not be the last in this communication capacity. Pardon me in advance; I will be asking you questions. I may get emotional too. Well, you know me so well, and I write to seek more understanding.
Lord, I come with a heart soaked and seething with passion as I reflect on the events that led you to suffer and die on the cross for the redemption and salvation of humanity, including the people that plotted your gruesome suffering and death on the cross.
I hope you don’t mind if I start by being more personal: “how are you doing?” You are undoubtedly good all the time, and you do good (Psalm 119:68). But sincerely, how did you feel when the hour finally came “for the Son of Man to be delivered into the hands of sinners? (Mark 14:41). Did you feel like not doing it for us in your human form and feeling? Oh, I remember you bargained a little but still subjected yourself to the Will of the Father (Luke 22:42)
I was heartbroken some years ago on a Good Friday when I saw some people laughing out loud during the passion drama along a busy street. It was exactly when the drama captured your first fall under the cross. That event made me understand that some people still believe your passion is only as real as a story for entertainment.
You entered Jerusalem with pomp and pageantry, riding on an urgently needed colt (Luke 19:28-40). You chose a colt which no one has ever sat to convey you into the city of your passion, suffering, and death. You did not use a horse as earthly kings of your time did. Instead, you came in majesty but moderated with modesty and humility (Zechariah 9:9).
The way the colt carried you to Jerusalem is how you convey our souls from the region of darkness to your marvelous triumphant light (Col. 1:13). The colt waited for you to be the first rider, just as our souls waited for you to be the first and only redeemer.
Let’s talk about the disciples who were very close to you. You knew that Judas was going to betray you (John 13:17-18). Could you have stopped that and routed another way for the process without losing one of the twelve to the devil?
Please, Lord, when handing over the keys of leadership to Peter, did you consider that he would sponsor a showdown at the most critical moment by his unfair denial of you? Recall that you warned him: “Truly I tell you, this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matthew 26:34).
Lord, I also remember that the rest of the disciples abandoned you and fled for their lives (Mark 14:50). They quickly forget your instruction, saying, “whoever wants to save his life will lose, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel save it” (Matthew 16:25).
Lord, the problem was not Judas, Peter, the other disciples that fled or that of Pilate, the Chief Priests, the soldiers, and the other actors. It is all about our fallen human nature. The events show how far we derailed in our sinfulness which warranted your coming in the first place. Maybe if Judas did not kill himself, he could have been redeemed by your merciful love like Peter.
Lord, it is heartbreaking that there are still betraying Judases, denying Peters, condemning Pilates, and vicious chief priests attacking your mission on earth after more than two thousand years.
Gracious Lord, can you describe the intensity and effect of the lashes on your bare body? There is a line that strikes me in the stations of the cross: “the cruelty of the executioners was excessive”. Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” (2004 film) shows a graphic depiction of your suffering and death but could have been far from the actual event.
What was it like seeing your mother at the site of your crucifixion (John 19:25-27)? Some people claim that your mother, who had the grace of virginity before and after your birth, had other children, which means she eventually lost her virginity.
Please tell me, Lord, where were your brothers and sister at this excruciating point? Did they also abandon you to the end that John the beloved had to take your mother to his house as you instructed?. Were your brothers and sisters that careless and you did nothing about it as charity begins at home?
My King and my Lord, what was it like dying when you said, “it is finished” (John 19:30)? Every aspect of your life was a lesson, so were you teaching us how to die from those last words? You said, “forgive them” (that is, forgiveness should come before death), “I thirst” (that you thirst for our souls), “I will be with you in paradise” (there is a home for us), “into your hands I commit my spirit” (God is our real resting place). “Behold your mother” (we should take your mother as our mother).
Lord, as I write this letter, I am learning that we should not count the pain, but we should focus on the end for which we suffer. I am learning anew that it is worth dying for eternal values. Please help me to see the reason to die to self so that you may be manifested in me (Galatians 2:20).
I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.