April 2, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 31, the prayer of one who will not be shaken from faith in God.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,Psalm 31: 12-13
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
What is there to say about the Good Friday journey of Jesus? It may be that we can only walk beside him in loving, heart-broken silence.
There are times in our lives when we will be called to walk like this beside others in loving and merciful ministry.
There may be times when others are called to walk with us in such a way.
Let these times inform our prayer today.
Good Friday is the time we gather strength and compassionate understanding from Jesus to help us, in his Name, be Mercy in the world.
Poetry: From “The Dream of the Rood”, one of the Christian poems in the corpus of Old English literature and an example of the genre of dream poetry. Like most Old English poetry, it is written in alliterative verse. Rood is from the Old English word rōd ‘pole’, or more specifically ‘crucifix’. Preserved in the 10th-century Vercelli Book, the poem may be as old as the 8th-century Ruthwell Cross, and is considered as one of the oldest works of Old English literature.
The Rood (cross of Christ) speaks:
“It was long past – I still remember it – That I was cut down at the copse’s end, Moved from my root. Strong enemies there took me, Told me to hold aloft their criminals, Made me a spectacle. Men carried me Upon their shoulders, set me on a hill, A host of enemies there fastened me. “And then I saw the Lord of all mankind Hasten with eager zeal that He might mount Upon me. I durst not against God’s word Bend down or break, when I saw tremble all The surface of the earth. Although I might Have struck down all the foes, yet stood I fast. “Then the young hero (who was God almighty) Got ready, resolute and strong in heart. He climbed onto the lofty gallows-tree, Bold in the sight of many watching men, When He intended to redeem mankind. I trembled as the warrior embraced me. But still I dared not bend down to the earth, Fall to the ground. Upright I had to stand. “A rood I was raised up; and I held high The noble King, the Lord of heaven above. I dared not stoop. They pierced me with dark nails; The scars can still be clearly seen on me, The open wounds of malice. Yet might I Not harm them. They reviled us both together. I was made wet all over with the blood Which poured out from his side, after He had Sent forth His spirit. And I underwent Full many a dire experience on that hill. I saw the God of hosts stretched grimly out. Darkness covered the Ruler’s corpse with clouds His shining beauty; shadows passed across, Black in the darkness. All creation wept, Bewailed the King’s death; Christ was on the cross…. “Now you may understand, dear warrior, That I have suffered deeds of wicked men And grievous sorrows. Now the time has come That far and wide on earth men honor me, And all this great and glorious creation, And to this beacon offers prayers. On me The Son of God once suffered; therefore now I tower mighty underneath the heavens, And I may heal all those in awe of me. Once I became the cruelest of tortures, Most hateful to all nations, till the time I opened the right way of life for men.”
Music: Pie Jesu – Michael Hoppé