the stone shouts with joy
as it dances from the tomb –
THE KING IS ALIVE!!
the stone shouts with joy
the stone shouts with joy
as it dances from the tomb –
THE KING IS ALIVE!!
the stone in its place
cries out in bitter anguish –
for the King is dead
The Son of God was lying in the grave
and so the Serpent bragged, “I’ve struck His heel!
For how,” he reasoned, “can a dead God save
once all the power of Hell has been revealed?”
A large stone blocked the entrance of the tomb
and those who’d followed Him would face great strife
For now, the Serpent revelled in this doom
But Grave could not hold Him who’d authored Life!
An empty place marks where his body lay
for all Death’s victories had been undone
the mighty stone was simply cast away
and brighter than the sun-rise rose The Son
For Christ, in rising, crushed the Serpent’s head
Life conquered Death, and death itself is dead
When the people in Jerusalem had shouted out their “hosannahs” when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, they were hoping that they had found a king to vanquish the occupying Romans. Here was a man who would finally turn the tables! How right they were. How wrong they were! Jesus would indeed “turn the tables”, but not in the way that the people were expecting!
They saw him come upon a donkey’s colt
and thought he’d come to claim an earthly crown
he’d lead them at long-last in a revolt
and kick the Roman army out of town
“He’ll turn the tables now” is what they thought
“and in that he will have our full support”
They thought that Rome would be his target…not
the money changers in the Temple court
But Christ had come to clear a path to God
and Rome was not the hindrance that he saw:
but those who’d turned religion into fraud
who’d cheat the poor in favour of “the law”
Come, Jesus! Turn the tables in my heart
that I might truly know how Great Thou Art!
Yes, Jesus turned the tables…but against his own people where they made mockery of what relationship with God should be. I hope that I captured some of that in my sonnet. The final couplet of the sonnet is my prayer that God would reveal to me those areas of my life where I have put obstacles in the way of having a true relationship with him…and being human, I know that I will always have those obstacles (until I meet with him in glory!)…but I desire that God would overturn those tables, so that I will be able to draw ever closer to Him!
The week leading up to Easter is an important time for me as a Christian. I believe that it is important to understand the events that led to the arrest and death of Christ before we can truly appreciate the Resurrection. My biggest problem with this is: I already know “the rest of the story”. I already know what happens on Easter Sunday…and yet, for my own spiritual growth, I feel the need to spend time dwelling in the middle of the story, so that, come Sunday, I can truly rejoice in the climactic triumph of Life over death.
Is it possible to mourn, though, when the happy outcome is already known? Perhaps the story of Lazarus might give us a clue: John 11 tells the story of the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus…but also tells us how Jesus miraculously raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus already knew the whole story…even before Lazarus died. He knew that Lazarus would die, and he knew that he would bring him back to life…and yet…before he performs the miracle, John tells us in verse 36 of the chapter, “Jesus wept”. Jesus grieved over the passing of his friend. He grieved with Mary and Martha over the loss of their brother. He knew the triumph to come, and yet, he grieved in the middle of the story.
My prayer for this Holy Week is that God would allow me (and you) to dwell for a while in the middle of this story without rushing to the end. My prayer is that the victory of Easter will be made that much more glorious because of the grief of the week.
There are no good stories that consist of only the ending…the tragedy, the conflict, the challenges along the way are all crucial. The story of Christ is no different. Take the time to remember all the aspects of his life. Easter Sunday is coming, but don’t rush the story. I think we’ll all be richer for it if we allow ourselves to experience all the trials along the way.
Before my poem, I would like to briefly discuss the final two words (sayings) of Christ from the cross
The last words of Christ from the cross as recorded in the book of Luke differ from what is recorded in the book of John. Luke 23:46 says,
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”When he had said this, he breathed his last.
John 19:30 says,
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Why are there two seemingly conflicting reports? Did Jesus say one, or the other, or both? The discrepancy can likely be attributed to the fact that each is from a different eye-witness account. It is probable that Christ made both statements, but which came first is impossible to say with certainty. I have chosen to use Luke’s account for Part VI of my series, and I will use John’s account for part VII, as I feel that “It is finished” is an appropriate phrase for the conclusion of my series. And now, here is the poem inspired by Christ’s words:
He took our guilt upon himself that day
the cross’s pain eclipsed by pain of sin
He wore our shame to take our shame away
a torture greater than his broken skin
He loves us, so was willing to submit
to torment that the world had never known
“Father into your hands I now commit
my Spirit,” he called out with a loud groan
A loving Father’s arms and strong embrace
are where an anguished child longs to be
The death that Christ died that we might know grace:
how could there be a greater agony?
Even in death he kept his eyes above
Upon his Father, trusting in his love.
What god in guise of human flesh would dare
allow his godly strength be stripped away?
What Greek or Roman deity might care
to be a human each and every day?
The One True God alone became a man
with body prone to pain and even death
as part of his redemptive loving plan
to offer humankind eternal breath
“I thirst” he cried out from his cross of wood
no god not truly man would be so frail.
No man not truly God could be so Good!
for through this “weakness”, Hell he would assail!
In strength he chose to give his life to save
he has a mission far beyond the grave…
This statement from Christ can be found in John 19:28. Part of the inspiration for this sonnet came from the poem “Descent” by Malcolm Guite. Malcolm contrasted the vanity of the “classic gods of old” with the self-sacrificial humility of Jesus. I hope I might have captured a touch of that idea in my poem as well.
Christ’s second “word” (or saying) from the cross is found in Luke 23:43 (the story leading up to the saying starts in verse 39). The following poem is based on that story.
Beside his own, two other crosses stood
one convict on his left, one on his right
one mocked the Savior from his beams of wood:
“If you’re God’s son, then save us with your might!”
But he who hung on Jesus’ other side
acknowledged he deserved this painful fate
and then: “Lord, please remember me”, he cried,
“when you have entered through your kingdom’s gate”
Christ answered him “I speak the truth today
in Paradise the two of us shall meet”
and though the sky was swiftly turning grey
that man had ne’er before heard words so sweet
Like him, we have no hope to earn God’s grace
but we’ll see Mercy if we seek his face
The sun rose most gloriously today
And once again light flooded the world
After the darkest of nights.
The sun rose most beautifully today
Dazzling our eyes and
Waking us from our slumber
The sun rose most powerfully today
Giving us hope that
We might indeed
The Son Arose miraculously today
And Death itself is cowering.
OK. I’ve seen enough! It’s time that this conspiracy was brought to light. You all know my boss…Santa Claus. As you may or may not know, “Santa” means “Saint.” Saint? Yeah sure…maybe the original guy, but old St. Nicholas has been gone many a year, and the current guy ain’t no saint. Yeah, he still does the whole toy thing. Nice front for what’s really going on. Can you say “money laundering” and “counterfeiting”? Big words, but hey…he’s a BIG guy if you catch my drift.
The thing you need to know is, “Saint” Claus (and that isn’t even his real name) isn’t the only one in on this conspiracy. He’s got the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy in on the whole racket too. Actually, of all the people/critters/etc. that kids believe in and adults often don’t…I suspect that the only character who’s nose is clean in this whole mess is the Great Pumpkin – and to be frank, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he’s connected somehow.
Easter’s coming up. You know what that means…the Easter Bunny is on his way bringing his “gift” of Easter eggs to children all over the world. Here’s an interesting fact for you: BUNNIES DON’T LAY EGGS!! Yeah. Shocking. I know. So these aren’t real eggs. They’re fabricated. What are eggs made of? Enamel. That’s right, enamel! What else is made of enamel? You got it, big shot. Teeth. You making the connection? Keep up with me, will you? Yeah. Those teeth that the Tooth Fairy “paid” you for are melted down and fabricated into the eggs that come back at Easter time. And that coin she gave you for the tooth? Remember how I said Santa’s work-shop is a front for money laundering and counterfeiting? I’d be careful where I spend that coin if I was you!
That’s right. Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are all in on this together. They work with a malevolent efficiency that makes the Mafia look like a bunch of 2 bit street thugs.
What’s the end-game? I really wish I knew. But considering that all 3 of the characters I mentioned seem to have access to every house in the world, I can safely say that no good will come of it. For one thing, your house is probably bugged. Right now. It’s no coincidence that “He knows when you are sleeping, He knows when you’re awake.” Just that fact alone is a wee bit creepy if you ask me!
Take my advice: Don’t put any teeth under your pillow – keep a HOT fire going in your fireplace on Christmas Eve – avoid any eggs of unknown origin. I don’t know what these guys are up to, but it Ain’t No Good!!
(Name of the Elf who wrote this warning has been withheld for his protection)
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