Lent: Man of Sorrows 2

My God, my God:
head full of wounds, You cry.
My God, my God:
what rupture in the godhead
makes perfect veins now burst?
What depth of love plumbs so low
that even earth shakes at impact?

My God, my God, have mercy.
I wound my head and choose these depths;
yet, Man of Sorrows, You came down
that I might soar the heights with You.
If, dying now to self, I must
cry beside Your cross-shaped throne,
let me rejoice as well to know
what sorrows deck Your crown.

Catechism 25

Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?
Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as if it were our own and will remember our sins no more.
(New City Catechism)

All?
It seems a dream
which never human mind could fathom.
No, I must repay the debt!
the striving self says in the face
of grace too grand, too reckless.

Yet all.
No helpless soul
could fiction up such headlines, nor
could guilt conceive such answer.
All: eternity before and after
sings redemption’s senseless song.

And all
the righteousness
bought on the tree, all glory, reward,
all ledgered out in our false names.
The beggar sits in fortune’s seat;
the Father sprints, arms open.

Catechism 24

Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.
(New City Catechism)

The price:
that life must be kept outside,
a tree whose roots do not touch us
and we all languish,
rootless…

The price:
that Life must go outside
the city walls and mount a Tree,
and, hanging, languish,
breathless.

The price
for life: that Life has died
and lives again. The Tree of Life
invites us, anguished,
lifeless…

The price
of life is paid, and I
and you may climb the Tree He climbed
and eat its fruit now,
sinless.

Family Tree

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…and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

(Revelation 22:2)

 

 
 
 
What a father did once when an apple looked sweet
            sent tremors shaking through the earth,
                        breaking roots, severing limbs,
            sickening soil and bruising leaves,
                                    life uprooted from its Tree
                        and grafted into death.
 
What a brother did when he walked through a field
            and Hell crouched at his flapping tent
                        made the earth cry out for blood,
            while knotted roots, turned inside out,
                                    craved curse like twisted blessing which
                        seven times avenged.
 
What Son once climbed a skull-bound tree
            outside garden or city walls
                        took the deadened soil and sprinkled
            cursed roots with the flow of blood,
                                    injected life in deadened leaves
                        and grafted family in.
 
What life, what family, grown in Him
            now where death should hold the sway
                        of wind and trunk, and roots declared
            too dead to be of any good –
                                    now spreads, now heals, now spreading heals.
                        What life has won the day.

Lent 45: Good Friday

The Darkness at the Crucifixion - Gustave Doré en.wikipedia.org
The Darkness at the Crucifixion – Gustave Doré
en.wikipedia.org

They took him down to Golgotha,

to Golgotha, the place of skulls;

they set him in between two thieves

and hurled disease on him.

 

They struck his face and speared his side

at Golgotha, at Golgotha;

they called him king and laughed at him

and cursed him on the tree.

 

The earth, it shook at Golgotha,

at Golgotha, the place of skulls;

the dead arose, the sky was dead

and soldiers stared at him.

 

They said he was the Son of God,

at Golgotha, at Golgotha;

he bled and died at Golgotha,

accursed, upon a tree.

Lent 43: Wednesday of Holy Week

Caravaggio - The Denial of Saint Peter
Caravaggio – The Denial of Saint Peter

 

But listen as they question Him;

listen as they plot and lie.

Listen: by the fireside,

Peter lies and cries.

 

Watch as, dust, we crumble down;

watch the Son of Man, betrayed,

tell the truth, secure His death

and die for dust He made.

 

Has anything like this been seen?

The eternal enters time,

ascending thrones, accepting death,

fracturing rhyme.

Lent 42: Tuesday of Holy Week

Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane", Wikimedia Commons
Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, “Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane”, Wikimedia Commons

 

Yet dust we are we cannot stay

awake and pray (the flesh is weak)

and dust we are we walk away

and hide ourselves in dull deceit.

 

And dust He is yet more than dust

transfigured with the Father’s grief;

our dust He takes up to the Cross

and dies beside a thief.