“Humble Would Be How”
Passion Week 2015
In all the weeks that ever were,
None had begun like this:
The Nazarene sent men to find
A scene they must not miss–
A donkey tied beside a colt,
And both he needed now.
For Scripture said the King would ride,
And humble would be how.
He rode into Jerusalem
And heard the crowd proclaim:
“Hosanna be to David’s son,
And blessed be his name!”
The incarnation was about the cross. The birth of the promised son was about the mission of dying for sinners and achieving victory over death, sin, and the dragon.
It was a great joy to reflect on Passion Week this year through the avenue of poetry. Here’s how that unfolded:
“Hosanna” – Palm Sunday
“With Zeal and Holy Flame” – Monday
“A Coming Day” – Tuesday
“Thirty Silver Pieces” – Wednesday
“See Him” – Thursday
“A River Flowed” – Friday
“Silent, Still, and Cold” – Saturday
“Rise” – Easter Sunday
Glorious news: Jesus is alive, risen indeed from the dead and never to die again. Women went to his tomb on the first day of the week, and they found the stone rolled and body gone. Wouldn’t you have some questions if you came upon such a scene? Imagine you’re asking the following ones, and God answers. [This format is inspired by the wonderful poem “God Answers” by John Piper.]
April 20, 2014
Where was the body when the women
Came at Sunday’s dawn?
But how? What happened to the stone that
Sealed the body cold?
Were not the soldiers there to guard?
What did they feel, if near?
How many thieves were needed to
Ensure the deed was done?
If the body was not stolen,
What else is there but fraud?
What did that body do while it was
Hidden from their eyes?
From death? To life? How can we tell
The world this news we know?
On Saturday, the tomb was occupied with the crucified and dead body of Jesus the Nazarene. I wrote the following poetic reflection two years ago, but I’m including it in this week’s poetic Passion posts.
“Silent, Still, and Cold”
April 19, 2014 (first written April 7, 2012)
Saturday of Passion Week
On Saturday his body lay
Silent, still, and cold,
Entombed for one more night before
The stone began to roll.
Darkness seemed to triumph while
God the Son lay dead,
But in the morn his hands would pull
The cloth from ’round his head.
Disciples, now consumed with fear,
Did mourn their master’s death.
Yet joy would rise with Sunday’s sun
And new creation’s breath.
For one more night all hope seemed lost
As death claimed the last word,
But this second day would end with
Resurrection on the third.
On Good Friday of Passion Week, Jesus died on the cross. Last year I wrote a poem about the cross, and I’m including it among the Passion Week poems I’ve been posting this year.
“A River Flowed”
April 18, 2014 (first written March 29, 2013)
Friday of Passion Week
A river flowed, a crimson tide,
With mercy in its stream,
As Jesus Christ was crucified
By God through human scheme.
The sin he bore was not his own,
For ours he carried to
The wooden cross, the judgment tree,
To pay the wages due.
Hear him cry out “It is finished”
With his final breath,
For with this love he satisfied
God’s wrath and died our death.
On Thursday of Passion Week, Jesus ate the last supper with his disciples, prophesied that they would scatter because of him, and prayed in Gethsemane with a soul full of sorrow. This is a poetic reflection on those events.
April 17, 2014
Thursday of Passion Week
See him in the upper room
With all of them together.
So much to say, so much to pray,
Before the night is over.
See him break the bread and say,
“My body, take and eat.”
Then the cup, raised up: “My blood
Poured out for you—now drink.”
See him warn them, “This night you
Will fall away and flee.”
Then Peter, louder than the rest,
Says, “Everyone but me.”
See him at Gethsemane
As he kneels to speak,
With sorrow in his holy soul
And friends whose flesh is weak.
See him fall upon his face:
“O Father let this cup
Pass from me, yet your will be done,
For you shall raise me up.”
Today is Wednesday, and we remember several events that occurred on that day during Passion Week. Particularly important was the agreement of Judas to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. This poem reflects on that agreement.
“Thirty Silver Pieces”
April 16, 2014
Wednesday of Passion Week
The chief priests and elders gathered together
To plot how they might arrest and kill Jesus,
For two days away was the start of Passover,
But no plan was certain until they saw Judas.
Into the palace of Caiaphas came
One of the Twelve in sinister stride,
And though Judas seemed to come in alone,
Satan himself was dwelling inside.
“What will you give me if I would betray him?”
They said, “You like silver? How ’bout thirty pieces?”
Then Judas agreed and gathered the sum
And looked for a time to turn over Jesus.
Today is Tuesday of Passion Week, and on this day Jesus spoke parables and taught many things to his disciples and any crowds that gathered (see Matt 21-25).
“A Coming Day”
April 15, 2014
Tuesday of Passion Week
The disciples of the Lord beheld the fig tree dead.
“How did it wither?” they asked Jesus.
This is what he said:
“Faith—and if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed,’
You can cast it in the sea, for
Such prayer is approved.”
The temple in Jerusalem would not last forever,
For Jesus said, “No stone will be
Left on another.”
Jesus spoke in parables about a coming Day,
When all who scorn the Master’s Son
Shall be cast away.
The Son of Man will one day come, but the day and hour
No one knows, not even him, but
Only the Father.
Jesus taught about the judgment day and vindication,
When the nations gather to his throne
In these teachings Jesus spoke with great authority
And answered questions aimed to stump him
Overcoming every challenge, Jesus showed his wisdom
And continued steadfast on his path
As Second Adam.