Good Friday - poetry

Good Friday.jpg

"At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?' (which means 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, 'Listen, he’s calling Elijah.' Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 'Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,' he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last." - Mark 15:33-37

Another Crucifixion
- by Scott Cairns

The last of the three to die was the one
whose harsh words to the rabbi had availed
for the third culprit the astonishing
promise of Paradise.

The last of the three could no longer turn
even his head — his body had stiffened.
He did not dare close his eyes again, so
fixed upon the rabbi’s face,

which had grown so utterly still, opaque,
that the dying one observed a vivid
mirroring of his own condition there,
or so he imagined,

confused, struggling to see anything clearly.
As that face blurred, he saw beyond to the one
whose shins were that moment cracking across
the flat of a sword.

That man, too, was clearly dead, and if this day
he also swam in bliss, it didn’t show.
The dying man would examine the dead
rabbi one more time

if he could, but finally knew the man
was lost to his sight. He felt a tug, far
away (at his feet?) and a blade across
his knees. He heard them crack,

and heard himself cry out (so far away).
Dying, he thought that if he might just glimpse
the rabbi’s ruined face, he could suspect
a kingdom even now.

Dear God, how can there be anything good about Good Friday? How can I possibly celebrate today? I always want to skip ahead to the happy ending. I want to put a 5-minute time limit on tears and then race back to laughter, pretend that the pain ever happened. But You, God, have called me to a faith that includes both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. You call me to remember both death and resurrection. Because either one, without the other, would be meaningless. Today is good news. Jesus didn’t wait until Easter morning to conquer sin and death. He was already crushing them as He hung on the cross. His dying words weren’t an admission of defeat but a declaration of victory, like an artist stepping back to behold a masterpiece with His final breath: “It is finished.” Today, God, I ask that You would teach me to mourn. Don’t let me rush to Easter Sunday too quickly. Give me grace to linger here, in the place where sorrow meets redemption. Make Your death as real to me as Your resurrection. Teach me, God, to mourn and celebrate Your death. Then take me by the hand, lead me into my own death, and teach me to mourn and celebrate that death too. Amen.
Mar 30 2018