Lent ends with a mirror:
I am the mocker, the spitter, the thief.
Like a child resenting their small role in the pageant,
I greet grace with a petulant, What about me?
This is me.
My role is the soldier with the reed and the crown,
the voice crying, Crucify! and, Messiah, come down.
I’m Judas and Pilate, am Herod, am the priests;
am the nails in the feet and the spear in the side,
am the object of all mercy’s most prodigal gifts,
am the face of Christ shining in victory.
Teacher, they say, grant us whatever we ask of you.
Assumptions rich in self, they see
a throne, and seats on either side;
surely theirs? For what other reason do they fight?
Yet His kingdom is not of this world;
its great ones do not presume, nor grasp.
Losing and finding self, they serve,
seeing the king Himself on His knees.
Here it begins: on knees;
and it ends here too, for humble delight
is eternal delight, having nothing to lose but the object of its joy.
So far to go, I cannot go further than this;
I kneel, confess, rip off my face.
If worship is bowing, then see, O my king,
this death of self now as my song.
Too fast you walk down the mountainside;
momentum gathers, yet of a false and fleeting kind.
A fig tree full of leaves, but fruit sorely lacking,
you see the glory but faint at the sight of blood.
Slow down. It is a long road and your companion lingers;
His death puts brakes on our downward slide.
Listen: past, present, future all gathered in Him,
the words of life may echo
if you heed the words of death.
The teachers of the law deceive, devour;
The humble king is quizzed on His own law.
The pure in heart see God; the kingdom’s poor
Inherit what the rich lose with their power.
Great David’s greater Son knows that His hour
Is soon to come; He knows the loving score
Composed and tuned by Father’s plan. Before
The throne to come, there must be crowning thorns.
To those who, poor in spirit, turn toward
The face of favour – spat on, slapped and scorned –
By the tender mercy of our God,
In promise, faithful, sure in all darkness,
His dawn will break from high all over us.
if food was all that He required
He could have made it bear for Him
but leaves had presaged early fruit
and nothing showed there yet.
Not the season
for figs, and yet
He who made the fig tree sprout
could change the seasons with His will.
If curses worked, then why not blessings?
Why leave it languishing?
Inside His house,
perhaps the answer: His tree,
His orchard, refusing fruit.
The the clay says to the potter, Why?
O God, we ask, and yet we trust
for daily signs of fruit on us.
We cannot grow alone.