Holy Week 2020: Good Friday

Why am I here?
Why are we here?
Why watch and ache with anguish?
Why watch and hear your anguish?

My heart skipped every time
the hammer fell. One hand. Two.
Place a nail against your feet.
Beat (no beat). Beat (no beat). Beat (no beat).

Then as the upright rose I held
my breath. The rough beam stopped
and swayed and fell abruptly.
My lungs seized at your groan.

Since then… Jeers, then silence.
Rattling dice. My God, the guards
are making plans for dinner
as above them you hang dying.

Silence, then jeers. A little
conversation now between
the three who hang and groan
and breathe their lives away.

Why am I here?
Why are we here?
Mary and Mary and Mary
(our parents shared a common taste):

We share a common taste.
We know what true love is.
We know what healing is.
We know it hangs a-dying there.

Why are we here?
Why are you there?
See, that’s the reason in the end:
Where else could you or I be?

The image is a photo of “The Three Marys” by Master of the Rimini Crucifixion, found in the National Museum in Warsaw – Photo: Own work (BurgererSF), CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20397119.

De Profundis

De profundis
De profundis
Clamavi ad te
Clamavi ad te
Out of the depths
Out of the depths
I cry to thee, O Lord
I cry to thee, O Lord

When into darkness I have fallen
When a cloud obscures my way
I raise my voice: and who will hear my crying?
My soul hopes for thee.

Mai loko o no wahi hohonu
Mai loko o no wahi hohonu
Ua kahea aku au ia ‘oe,
‘O Iehova
Out of the depths
Out of the depths
I cry to thee, O Lord
I cry to thee, O Lord

When all I drink of life is bitter,
When those I love refuse their hand,
I raise my voice: and who will hear my crying?
My soul longs for thee.

De profundis
De profundis
Clamavi ad te
Clamavi ad te
Out of the depths
Out of the depths
I cry to thee, O Lord
I cry to thee, O Lord

If you should note my countless failings
How could I ever stand?
Yet you are grace and love and comfort all my crying:
My soul waits for thee.

De profundis
De profundis
De profundis
De profundis

Holy Week 2019: Good Friday

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
– Isaiah 53:7-8a

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
– Luke 23:34

Silence, Jesus? Excuses, Jesus?
In truth, I want a louder Savior.
I want a firebrand, I want a chief.
I want a voice that echoes from the hills.

I do not want excuses.
I do not want a suffering servant
satisfied with our perverted justice,
consenting with your silence.

For heaven’s sake, shake the heavens!
For earth’s sake, rattle the earth!
For the oppressed’s sake, break the bonds!
For humanity’s sake, do something!

Don’t – don’t – make excuses.
Not for them. Not for us.
Not even – dare I say it?
Don’t make excuses for me.

I do not need excusing, Jesus.
No, I need forgiving.
Excuses will not change the world:
Repentance and forgiveness might.

Suffering Savior, keep your silence:
but do not keep your peace.
We who witness your great love
weep for your peace.

Photo by Eric Anderson

Friday

Christ on the Cross

It’s getting hard to breathe.

So many blows from whips and hands.
Half led, half dragged from place to place
Throughout the night. I haven’t slept.
When they ceased to lash with whips
They lashed with words.
Question after question
As if my answers mattered.
I hope my friends escaped.
I wish the ones I barely see
Through swollen, blurry eyes
Would go. Their weeping just might break
My heart. I hear their tears
Above the jeers.

It’s getting hard to breathe.

I have to wonder why
They jeer. Why bother?
They can have their triumph
Without mocking me.
They have my life.
What more can they desire?

It’s getting hard to breathe.

They tried to give me wormwood,
But I wouldn’t take it.
Best to bear the worst
That human beings can do –
Oh, I pray this is the worst!
Every muscle screams
From hanging by my hands
Afire with pain
Around the nails.
I’d scream, but…

It’s getting hard to breathe.

Father, forgive them
For they do not know…
Breathe.
What they are doing.

Do I know
What I’m doing?

Breathe.
Breathe.

Eli! Eli!
Lama!
Breathe.
Sabachtani!

It’s getting
Hard to breathe.

Breathe.

Is it dark?
I can’t tell.

A sponge.
Breathe.
Sour wine.
Breathe.

It’s hard
Too hard
To breathe.

Breathe.

Tear’s salt.
Last
Flavor.

Breathe.

Into
Your hands…
Breathe.
I commend…
Breathe.
My spirit.
Breathe.

It’s hard
To
Breathe.

Breathe.

It
Is
Finished.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Brea…

Image by Unknown or not provided – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17069459

This page was updated on April 18, 2019, to add the image and place the words of Jesus from the cross in italics.