It is time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit. It is time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy. It is a time for preparation… The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us. The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent. The only road to Easter morning is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.
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So they anoint the skin that cannot feel Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care, Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal, With incense scenting only empty air. He blesses every love that weeps and grieves And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth. In him all love is found And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.
Filed under christianity , Poems. Tagged as Bible , canterbury press , christianity , good friday , Holly Ordway , holy week , Jesus , Lancia smith , Poetry , sonnet sequence , Sonnets , Stations of the cross. The Stations of the Cross, which form the core of my book Sounding the Seasons and are intended to be read on Good Friday. If you are in Cambridge today do come and join us for the three hours service at St.
The service starts at The Image above is courtesy of Lancia Smith. These sonnets have been used by a number of churches in different ways and Dr. Holly Ordway has given a series of excellent podcast talks based on these sonnets. I Jesus is condemned to death. II Jesus is given his cross. III Jesus falls the first time. IV Jesus meets His Mother. This darker path into the heart of pain Was also hers whose love enfolded him In flesh and wove him in her womb.
Again The sword is piercing. She, who cradled him And gentled and protected her young son Must stand and watch the cruelty that mars Her maiden making. Waves of pain that stun And sicken pass across his face and hers As their eyes meet. Now she enfolds the world He loves in prayer; the mothers of the disappeared Who know her pain, all bodies bowed and curled In desperation on this road of tears, All the grief-stricken in their last despair, Are folded in the mantle of her prayer.
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V Simon of Cyrene carries the cross. By accident his life was stalled and stilled Becoming all he was compelled to be. Make me, like him, your pressed man and your priest, Your alter Christus, burdened and released. Bystanders and bypassers turn away And wipe his image from their memory She keeps her station. She is here to stay And stem the flow.
She is the reliquary Of his last look on her. The bloody sweat And salt tears of his love are soaking through The folds of her devotion and the wet folds of her handkerchief, like the dew Of morning, like a softening rain of grace. Because she wiped the grime from off his skin, And glimpsed the godhead in his human face Whose hidden image we all bear within, Through all our veils and shrouds of daily pain The face of god is shining once again.
Through all our veils and shrouds of daily pain, Through our bruised bruises and re-opened scars, He falls and stumbles with us, hurt again When we are hurt again. With us he bears The cruel repetitions of our cruelty; The beatings of already beaten men, The second rounds of torture, the futility Of all unheeded pleading, every scream in vain.
Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience)
And by this fall he finds the fallen souls Who passed a first, but failed a second trial, The souls who thought their faith would hold them whole And found it only held them for a while. Be with us when the road is twice as long As we can bear. By weakness make us strong. Now is the time to loosen, cast away The useless weight of everything but love For he began his letting go before, Before the worlds for which he dies were made, Emptied himself, became one of the poor, To make you rich in him and unafraid.
See as they strip the robe from off his back They strip away your own defences too Now you could lose it all and never lack Now you can see what naked Love can do Let go these bonds beneath whose weight you bow His stripping strips you both for action now. XI Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross. See, as they strip the robe from off his back And spread his arms and nail them to the cross, The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black, And love is firmly fastened onto loss. But here a pure change happens. On this tree Loss becomes gain, death opens into birth. Here wounding heals and fastening makes free Earth breathes in heaven, heaven roots in earth.
And here we see the length, the breadth, the height Where love and hatred meet and love stays true Where sin meets grace and darkness turns to light We see what love can bear and be and do, And here our saviour calls us to his side His love is free, his arms are open wide. We hear him struggle breathing through the pain Who once breathed out his spirit on the deep, Who formed us when he mixed the dust with rain And drew us into consciousness from sleep.
His spirit and his life he breathes in all Mantles his world in his one atmosphere And now he comes to breathe beneath the pall Of our pollutions, draw our injured air To cleanse it and renew. His final breath Breathes us, and bears us through the gates of death.
When Solomon dedicated the Temple he rightly declared that not even the Heaven of Heavens could contain almighty God, much less this temple made with hands, yet God himself still came into the temple. Then finally, by his death on the cross he took away the last barrier in the Temple, and in our hearts, the veil that stood between us and the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, in us and beyond us.
Holy Saturday: The Poetry of Doubt
This sonnet, and the others I will be posting for Holy Week are all drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons , published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now also out on Kindle. Please feel free to make use of these sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great.
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Tagged as Barricades , canterbury press , christianity , god and the world , Holy of Holies , holy week , Jesus , Lancia smith , liberation , Poetry , righteous anger , sonnet sequence , Sonnets , Temple. Tears can be the turning point, the springs of renewal and to know you have been wept for is to know that you are loved.