Fourteen³ - March 2016

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Fourteen Stations For Holy Week

Sonnet LVII - On The Triumphal Entry
15th March 2016

“Behold the coming king,” the prophet said,
“He rides in freedom, peace and victory.
A crown of righteousness adorns His head;
He rides a colt in His humility.”

He chose the road towards Jerusalem.
He chose to ride upon a donkey’s colt.
And people went ahead of Him to sing
‘Hosanna’ for the coming of the king.
But He chose neither violence nor revolt:
He chose to save, and not too conquer, them.

But none who offered palms or robes could see,
The place this road which He had chosen led:
Towards a broken man upon a tree,
According to the words the prophets said.

Sonnet LVIII - On The Last Supper
28th March 2016

Then came the feast day of unleavened bread,
The day the sacrificial lamb must die,
The day on which the law of Moses said
The curse of firstborn death world pass them by.

He ate a meal he would not eat again,
He sat with twelve to celebrate the feast,
He gave them broken bread and cup of wine,
So they would not forget the love divine.
Then one of twelve went out to meet a priest
And turned from love to treachery profane,

And thirty silver coins can not say why
This friend from table into darkness fled.
But so the curse of death from us could fly,
The blood of God’s own broken lamb was shed.

Sonnet LIX - On The Silence In Gethsemane
28th March 2016

To silent, moonlit garden came the Son,
To stand before the God of time and space.
He knew there was a road which He must run
But came to seek His father’s saving grace.

He told His friends to keep a watch and pray,
But they were weak in heart and mind and limb,
So while nearby disciples soundly slept,
The Son of God in human weakness wept:
He wept for God to take the cup from him,
He wept for God to find another way,

He wept, for no one else could take His place,
He wept, “Not mine, but will of God be done.”
He wept to see his father turn His face
So that salvation’s work could be begun.

Sonnet LX - On The Denial Of St Peter
29th March 2016

He warned us all that when time came, we’d stray,
But I knew I’d be strong in heart and mind.
They tied His hands and led my lord away
I saw them go and followed on behind.

Then heard the words that played into my fears:
“You know him, don’t you?” angry voices said.
And all my weakness and my fear replied:
“I never even met the man,” I lied.
I lied twice more before I turned and fled
To find some place to shed my shameful tears.

I know He knew - I saw him turn, confined,
To look at me, but still I could not stay.
And every cockerel’s crow will now remind
Me of the traitor’s shame I felt that day.

Sonnet LXI - On The Judgement Of Pontius Pilate
29th March 2016

They woke me in the middle of the night,
These ghastly people I’m obliged to rule.
They brought some wretched soul for me to smite,
They said to let Him live would be the fuel

Of revolution. So I made my test
And though I found no fault, I must comply
If only for the peace of these my lands.
I washed the blameless bloodstain from my hands,
And sent the faultless fellow off to die.
I freed another man at their request,

And yet, I feel they played me for a fool.
For though I try to do what’s wise and right,
I do not know if I’m too kind or cruel;
I wish the gods would lead me to the light.

Sonnet LXII - On The Blasphemy Of The Soldiers
30th March 2016

A king must wear a crown upon His head,
And bear a staff so He might stand up tall,
And He must have a robe of scarlet thread,
So He can proudly stand above us all.

We gave Him nothing but a robe to wear,
We took a staff and put it in His hand,
We made a crown from cruel, blaspheming thorns,
And forced it on His head with sneers and scorns,
And in our mocking midst we made Him stand
And called Him ‘King’ in parody of prayer.

And when we bored of our derisive call,
We took the staff and beat Him ‘til he bled,
We cheered to see the broken body fall,
And thirsted for the wine-dark blood He shed.

Sonnet LXIII - On The Journey To Golgotha
30th March 2016

They gave a carpenter a beam of wood,
To carry through the crowded streets to where,
They’d give Him tools to make it something good,
Beneath the sun’s most unforgiving glare.

But as He bore His load upon the way
He fell amid the heat and pain and noise.
And when they saw He was too weak to stand,
They found another man to lend a hand,
A man who’d simply come with his two boys
To mark the happy feast of yesterday.

They gave this man a stranger’s cross to bear
But not for skills or virtue, he just could.
And thus, the wood which would the world repair
Was borne to where dead men with crosses stood.

Sonnet LXIV - On The Crucifixion
30th March 2016

He showed His love by sin and sickness cured.
He showed His love in tears He shed and dried.
He showed His love to doubters reassured.
He showed His love with arms spread open wide

So they could drive harsh nails through His hands.
And on that day in ancient Palestine
Upon a cross they raised Him over all,
Above a fallen world to break its Fall.
Above His head they hung a mocking sign
Which said “The King of All These Jewish Lands”.

They killed Him with His limbs by nails secured.
They killed Him for the sin of human pride.
They killed Him in the pain which He endured.
So by His love we might be purified.

Sonnet LXV - On The First One He Saved
30th March 2016

I lived a rebel life of sin and vice,
And all the paths I walked led to this place.
To where I and two others paid the price:
Of crossing over into death’s embrace.

The other man called out with dying breath
For Him to save Himself and us as well.
For in his pain he could not seem to see,
The thing which seemed so obvious to me:
That though we two had earned our place in hell
This man was guiltless in His sinners death.

And as I watched the life drain from His face,
And saw Him make His final sacrifice,
He offered me an awesome gift of grace,
And passed the promise on of paradise.

Sonnet LXVI - On The Last Words He Said
30th March 2016

I lived a rebel life of sin and vice,
And all the paths I walked led to this place.
To where I and two others paid the price:
Of crossing over into death’s embrace.

The other man called out with dying breath
For Him to save Himself and us as well.
For in his pain he could not seem to see,
The thing which seemed so obvious to me:
That though we two had earned our place in hell
This man was guiltless in His sinners death.

And as I watched the life drain from His face,
And saw Him make His final sacrifice,
He offered me an awesome gift of grace,
And passed the promise on of paradise.

Sonnet LXVII - On The Moment Of Christ’s Death
31st March 2016

He cried these words aloud and breathed His last:
“I give my life into the father’s hand.”
The midday sun was into darkness cast,
And twilight flowed like wine across the land;

And with a roar the Earth cried out in pain,
And shuddered at the passing of His breath;
From top to base the temple curtain tore,
So all mankind could walk with God once more,
For Christ had killed the curse of sin and death
So that the saints could rise to live again.

They could not speed His death as they had planned,
For blood and water flowed to show he’d passed,
And he who pierced His side could understand -
“This was a godly man,” he cried, aghast.

Sonnet LXVIII - On The Silence Which Followed
31st March 2016

When it was done, they knew what they must do:
Unbuild the executioner’s display.
They took the body down and out of view,
Removed the thorny crown, wiped blood away,

Anointed Him with oil and myrrh, and prayed,
And wrapped Him in a clean, white linen shroud.
They laid Him in a borrowed garden tomb
And with a stone they sealed Him in the gloom.
For night, and day, and night again a cloud
Of stillness fell around that garden glade.

No sound was heard, except the songs birds play;
And nothing moved, unless the flowers grew;
And no one came, for on the Sabbath day,
God rested after making all things new.

Sonnet LXIX - On Mary, At The Empty Tomb
31st March 2016

We found the tomb with stone rolled out of place,
So we sent word and John and Peter came,
But they could not explain nor find a trace
Of anyone who we could ask or blame.

“Why do you cry? Who are you searching for?”
I looked and saw the gardener nearby
And in my eyes, hot tears began to brim:
“We laid him here. What have you done with him?
“Now show me where you put him so that I
“Might bring him back to bury him once more.”

I cursed the stranger, then, and to my shame
I wept as one without a hope of grace.
But all that he replied was just my name.
And all at once, I recognised His face.

Sonnet LXX - On The Resurrection
31st March 2016

They walked on the Emmaus road - two men,
And then a third they did not recognise.
He taught them, they broke bread and only then
Did light return to their unseeing eyes.

“I want to, but I can’t believe,” said one,
“Unless I see.” Then he heard Jesus say,
“If you can’t trust what you do not perceive,
“Then touch my wounds so that you might believe.
“But greater still are those who find a way,
“To simply trust salvation’s work is done.”

“So glory be to God,” all heaven cries,
“Yes: hallelujah! Jesus lives again!”
“Yes: Hallelujah!” all the Earth replies,
“The Son of Man is raised to life. Amen!”