(Written on Holy Saturday in Bicheno, Tasmania)
The oath must still hold true yet waiting dries expectation;
the dew of your youth evaporates in the tomb.
Now: what the LORD said to David’s Lord is unchanged,
but the rods of foes seem the triumphant ones today.
Only Pilate’s wife regrets the washing of hands; only women weep.
Only in secret do we take your body to its tomb.
In the morning, with spices and sorrow we will greet
your right hand and your nail-torn feet,
with your king’s footstool too heavy to roll away,
and something like morning tackling deadened hearts.
Drink by the brook as you wait, if you can;
silence might hold some promise in this night of nights.
in the light
the light is blinding and
the days are long; the sun
confuses us, the bustle deafens.
let us walk.
Let’s leave our cars, our homes, our days
The Son has stories brighter than noon,
pavilions for the rising of the brightest morning,
and ways that feet must slow to learn.
Prepare your crowns, prepare
your heads to bow before
Prepare the day, to slow, to greet
bright as Day.
Son of David, immortal king, why –
Shoot from stump of Jesse, how –
Anointed one, long-promised ruler –
Where is victory? Where your crown?
Losing life to save it, why –
Eyes bent towards the grave, what for –
Die that life may glorious reign –
Our minds cannot contain
What is this day?
The lame walk, the blind see, the demons flee –
and silent He does not lift His voice to shout.
While one reed flaps,
the bruised reed stands tall, unbroken;
there’s flame still in the smouldering wick –
Yet the one
who stretched out the heavens with His palms
lifts His finger to His lips to hush…
He will not falter:
the mouth of hell snickers and licks
its lips, yet He walks furtively.
The prison doors groan.
What is this day? The sun not yet risen,
jubilee hanging anxious in the wind…
I was not ready:
You came when I was sleeping,
At my least expected midnight.
Reality shook - this veil we call
"The way things are"; angels sang
And shepherds danced, but I -
Exhausted by normality -
Dozed while, in a baby's cry,
Four hundred years of silence found
Their end-point in this night.
Sustaining the weary with a word,
There were none who would come to him
That he would turn aside.
Morning by morning his ear awoke
To hear the cries of the small and weak,
The beaten and the bruised.
And beaten and bruised, he turned his back
To take their lashes, and turned his cheek
To take their spit and spite.
And he turned his cheek to take the kiss
Of the friend who caught the High Priest’s eye
And sold him for silver coins.
He set his face like flint towards shame
And took a crown that pierced his brow,
His throne a place of skulls.
His obedience plumbed the darkest depths,
His mercy a gift of bleeding love;
Glory springs from his shame.