A Poem for Good Friday, 2018

I’m afraid of the crucifixion,

afraid of that brutalized body on a tree,

afraid of Christ’s gross persecution,

because he died in place of me.

Don’t look at me now, I’m red with shame

to know a sharp spear pierced his tender side.

He was innocent! I’m to blame!

My guilt’s exposed, I’ve nowhere to hide.

He died between two thieves,

the Father’s only-begotten Son

for whom the Queen of Heaven grieves;

the scapegoat to whom this ignominy was done,

the Holy One of God on whom our sins were laid

by whose salutary wounds our souls are healed.

It happened exactly as Isaiah said:

he took upon himself the sins of a fallen world,

stayed the course and carried our curse to heaven

where perfect atonement for our faults was made;

by his oblation our trespasses are forgiven,

the foundation a new and perfect covenant laid.

How small we are and late to love

Jesus, to whom we owe a debt

our souls cannot repay. Who now, enthroned in heaven above,

asks only that we not forget

the sacrifice He made to set us free,

by which He reconciled us to God.

That’s why He, glorified on Mount Tabor, marched up Calvary.

That’s why He, who raised the dead, meekly died.

That’s why I’m afraid of the crucifixion,

afraid of that brutalized body on a tree,

afraid of Christ’s gross persecution:

because I know, to my eternal shame, He died in place of me.

                                                                                                               Fr. Jansen String