Occasionally my amazing husband writes a piece for my blog and when he gave this reflection today I asked if I could share it!
Let us pray,
Who watched your Son be nailed to the cross,
Be close to us now,
As we meditate upon your word.
John Heath-Stubbs offers this poem entitled Golgotha:
In the middle of the world, in the centre
Of the polluted heart of man, a midden;
A stake stemmed in the rubbish
From lipless jaws, Adam’s skull
Gasped up through the garbage:
‘I lie in the discarded dross of history,
Ground down again to the red dust,
The obliterated image. Create me.’
From lips cracked with thirst, the voice
That sounded once over the billows of chaos
When the royal banners advanced,
replied through the smother of dark:
‘All is accomplished, all is made new, and look-
All things, once more, are good.’
Then, with a loud cry, exhaled His spirit.
We have trekked with Jesus, we have followed him through the night. Beginning at a humble meal, we followed him to the garden, then hurled into a fast paced narrative which has led us here. Here to this moment, Jesus dragging his cross-beam, it’s hard to imagine. Harder still to watch him fall, hear the mockers cry. Should I go to him? Help him up? No, I don’t want to be identified? Not as one of them!
But harder still to watch is the moment when the first nail tears through his skin. It is hard not to run to him when he screams. I want to tend to him, to mop his brow, to protect him from this pain. I want to protect Him. The very voice that was there in the beginning, who hovered over the water with God, I want to protect HIM.
And now I watch, look on, as he is lifted high. Deserted, Abandoned, Anguished, Our Lord and Saviour raised up, not to be adored but to be mocked. This is our King, can you imagine looking at him, seeing him there, not a King enthroned in Glory but a King of Fools; ensconced on the royal seat of the cross, a laughing stock; clothed, crowned and hailed King of the Jews, Jesus lifted high and glorified for us all to see. And this is our King, this is the moment that He is indeed being installed as the King of the Universe. Who am I to intervene? Who am I to try to protect Our King?
Golgotha, maybe this is the place where all good things come to die. How do those words He cries make sense, how can this act make All things Good. I want to cry “Come Down From There,” not to add my voice to the mockers but because I do not want to see him suffer so. But, I know, I know I will never intervene, not now, not ever.
“Come Down From There…” I want to shout, but I don’t.
How can he love us so? This is our king, this is our king. The words seem to seep in, they bounce around my head, as I look, as I watch my Lord begin to die…. “This is my King.” I want to shout, but of course I don’t, I don’t want to die with him, not now, not today, not really.
“This is my King.” I want to cry, as I watch him suffer there. “This is my King,” I say in nothing more than a mutter, with all the might that I can muster, “this is my King,”
They put him there, in-between two robbers, lifted high to mock him. To mock his challenge of the authority of this world, to mock his claim to be a King, and yet this is “Our King.” Lifted high, Glorified, by those who did not believe in him. “This is our King.” Do you believe in Him?
Have you ever wondered about those two robbers, they are easily dismissed. Well, I wonder… do you remember those two Son’s of Thunder, James and John, the two son’s of Zebedee, who came to Jesus and asked to sit….one on his and one on his left. Well, how about now James…… John….. Do either you want to sit on his right, or his left?
And how about you? Jesus said, did he not,
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Hmph… my burden is light, it doesn’t look light from where I am standing. I can’t imagine a more difficult task. To die, with seemingly no choice. If his burden is so light, why does he not just come down?
I mean “This is our King,” after all. Here he is; lifted high, and glorified, for the whole world to see. No wonder those disciples ran away. I try to hide my face, not wanting him to look and see my disgrace. I don’t want him to recognise my shame, as I look upon my God and King, and watch him suffer so. And I do feel shame, embarrassed by those taunts…. Aha! You who would destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross! Why does he not come down, I begin to doubt. Maybe he never was a king, maybe he deserves to die, this man who promised us the light… but gave us nothing more than this dark life…. “This is our King…” or at least that is what I used to think.
“This is my King..” I mutter one last time, with all the might I can muster. Yet still I turn my face away from the one I followed, the one I loved, the one I believed was right. Not sure anymore if I can believe. “Come down from that Cross, prove you are my King,” I whisper embarrassed by the words.
That’s what I thought, “He is no King,” I see it now, I can’t believe I followed him this far. Well, you can stay, but I cannot watch, I cannot watch this man die.
“For you are no King of mine!”
Just as Jesus prayed in the garden “not what I want, but what you want,”
Help us to be aware of your plan for us.
Give us peace even when we doubt the outcome.
In the midst of our grief,
To remember Christ crucified,
And profess faith in him, even when all seems lost,