Reflections for

Good Friday, Mar 25, 2016

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

Poetry

Man is without excuse

   —Romans 1:20

Perhaps you could say that in Rome, Paul,
where the olive trees of the Seven Hills

strung their pearls of rain against the sky.
And yes, as I hike Glacier Park

with a well-stocked pack, I can welcome
God's ambassadors of fireweed and paintbrush,

the psalmic rhythm of lake hitting shore.
But as the refugee trudges

from Mogadishu to Dabaab, is she to catch
a glimpse of antelope bone in the thicket

and intuit the sufferings of the Son of Man?
She wears her own nails and crown.

An Eden of lizards surges at her heels,
but she wonders at nothing

but the sore-studded daughter she left to die
on the road, and now, the baby

strapped to her back: six pounds
at one year old. He no longer cries

but flutters small breaths on her neck
like the golden wings of moths

she counts with worshipful attention.

Poetry

Pietà

He roamed quarries at Carrara
caressing blocks of marble, tracing veins
like a blind man
to find the Virgin within. Here,
the limp arm hangs; here,
the bent head of the mother;
here, her murdered son.

He coaxed her from stone
chiseling in her face the memory of
Simeon's prophecy of a sword piercing her heart:
a wholly inadequate portent for this,
this hammer of death
harder than marble.

Poetry

Getting it right

Jesus might have died
a dozen times before he died.

An incidental death—tetanus
from a nail, a splinter.

A baptismal drowning.
A drink from a tainted well.

Rotten fish.
Desert thirst.

A stoning, a sudden
push over the edge,

or a falling overboard in a storm.
A choking by a demon on the loose,

a bar room brawl
at the local pub.

So when it happened, it seemed
like someone

got it right. Right time,
right reason,

for God to let it
happen.

 

Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.