A Holy Week Triptych

I love Holy Week, but it is hard.

It is hard to read the Passion narrative.

It is hard to witness again the betrayal, denial, and abandonment of the One who defends, affirms, and follows closely after us.

It is hard to resist the temptation to skip to resurrection without first walking with him through suffering and death.

Poetry is a way to participate in the long texts we encounter this week, a way to enter into the story and watch for revelation to emerge. The readings from John’s gospel inspired the following set of three poems.

How I look forward to resurrection with you on Easter Sunday. As we watch and wait with the disciples, let us enter into their world with awe and wonder.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian

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A Holy Week Triptych

i. Spy Wednesday

Having received the piece of bread … ~ John 13:30

How long did you hold the bread?

Did it grow soggy

with the sweat of your palm

and crumble into the sod

as you ran from the Passover,

ran from the host

who served you the bread?

Or did you barely carry it

between your fingertips

all the way to the high priest?

Did you let it go

when they handed you the money bag,

dropping it to shatter in crumbs

as you filled your hands with coins

marked for death?




ii. Maundy Thursday

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A new commandment I give to you…~John 13:34

Receiving is hard,

unlike getting or taking,

active and possessive,

hoarding and holding.

Receiving bears gratitude

for the gift coming towards us.

Receiving carries awe

and an openness to the giver,

the person, the generous one.

He gives,

we receive,

and then there is the choice

of what to do with the gift

of a new law

that is an invitation

Love one another.

Do we bury the love

and seal it in a tomb of indifference?

Or do we dare with women and angels

to roll back the stone

and give of what we see?




iii. Good Friday

Why do you strike me? ~John 18:23

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It wasn’t the first gash that day,

but it was the worst:

a strike that cut the tender skin

above the cheekbone,

beneath the eye.

Stinging and burning,

swelling the eye,

bruising the nose,

it was a strike that shocked the face

and rocked the whole body.

It was his answer to a question.

It was a choice of good or evil.

It was an invitation for the guard

to consider his actions,

to answer, “Why?”

He chose to strike,

to cut, to wound,

but all the punches

and gashes inflicted

would not drive away

the question of, “Why?”

Why we hurt the one who loves,

Why we lash out

with whips of words

at the one trying to unbind us

and let us go.