The Road to Emmaus

We were walking between fields spotted with red anemones,

corn growing strong, and across the greened land the trees

lifted their faces to the lowering sun and the growing dark.

—–

The air felt cool on our tight skin, and the sour smell of dust 

rose up in our footsteps with the grief in our harried hearts.

We doubted that he died. We believed him dead. And then,

——

some women with herbs in their hands said he was living.

We walked home talking and thinking, tears and hope both

intermingled with the words in our heads from Mary, Joanna

——

and the others. I trudged, so tired that I felt that I was wading

in the mud of the shallows of the Jordan, my head ached as

with each muddled moment I dragged myself wearily along.

——-

A man caught us up. And, for a while was content to match his

stride with ours. He then saw our expressions and questioned. 

We told the baffling story of a man brutally crucified who speaks, 

——–

defies all we know of the world to walk unaided despite having 

a hideous hole in his side, was beaten til the skin was torn from 

his lacerated back, his ankles smashed with huge wooden nails. 

——–

A teacher he seemed as he led us along through the words

of our own scriptures and taught us that the Messiah would  

suffer these things and then he would succeed to his glory.

——–

As we watched the sun setting over the hills beyond our village

we listened to deep words which slowly seeped into our tired minds.

Does it matter, I thought, what we believe, he is dead and gone!

——–

Our home loomed in the gloom before us and our companion

calm, quiet and kindly walked on. But despite our weariness 

we invited in him to share in the meagre meal in our home.

——–

Our stranger sat strangely quiet as we set out the frugal fare,

We came to table and offered him the coarse bread. It was, 

as he lifted the loaf to pray, that our eyes were opened and saw

——

at our table the risen Lord, his woundedness for us a wonder,

and as we started, so he slipped from our weak dissembling sight,

and looking at the broken bread we believed the unbelievable.

——-

Energised, full dark out but we stumbled along the lanes, owls

hooted and as we neared Jerusalem a night jar sang a song 

of praise. We found Peter risen from his grief and others too.

———

We sang to a God who had dispatched death, conquered fear,

overcome the humiliation of the cross and was here with us; a

God who seeks individuals to reconcile each one to his peace.

The Gethsemane of the last Supper

Blood, boils, frogs, hail, came the children’s cries,

and soft silence as they remembered the first born 

sons – like me, he thought and will I be recalled? 

He watched their faces, joined in the swell, but

shakily. His last feast with his family of meandering

men and wise women before violence and death.

—-

His hands shook as he felt the bite of the lash, as

he dipped the bread in the bitter, sharp herbs, “This

is my body which is given for you.” Eyes in shock

stare at the pieces and ate as asked, while Mary

felt the sharpness of a sword in her chilled heart. 

She watched as he tearfully lifted the cup of wine,

—–

Elijah unreturned? No, for he claimed it for their own,

stumbling, stunned silence filled the Upper Room.

‘I will not share this feast with you again.” the words

like blows rained down on their drunken merriment,

like that riven sea, rushing, raining down upon them.

He looked at their old, young faces, he so loved,

The children he’d blessed. How would they even

remember this night before tomorrow? A sign he

gives of a promise of forgiveness and grace, into

the gloom he says,“Remember my love. Drink, 

the promise, a cup of forgiveness and hope

for all souls, to be sealed with my own blood.”

He walked alone with them to Gethsemane. He

carried in his heart the unborn child, the abused,

the oppressed, the violent, the warmonger, the

tyrant, the slaver and the slave, the hypocrites

and the helpless – filling his thoughts til he knelt,

in agony and wept, “Father, your will be done.”

Palm Sunday

As we enter into the winter of our discontent

the Son of God rides into Jerusalem on the

back of a donkey that was wild; until he felt

the touch of the Christ child grown. Like the 

unridden,

but bidden that we are, to be broken in

by the gentle touch of hands that were

bound and nailed to a tree, its life given as

he wove its beauty long ago, by a soft smile

that was whipped into screams, as he fought

for hope in life rather than in death, crushed

for an unwilling world. 

——–

Untie us Lord and lead us

to the wells of the water of life, guide us through

this frightened and fearful world of violence,

rape, plunder, poverty, starvation, tyranny and

tribulation, to where we can rest in those loving 

wounded hands, see the love in your smile  and 

know you are walking each step with us and will

weep with us, will right wrongs through us and

help us heal the hopelessness of our hearts cry.

The Harrowing of Hell

Is it within, without, was it always

someone else’s tool that they used

to abuse, confuse and cruise their

hate through another’s quick crisis.

——-

Hell hath no fury? Give them hell.

Hell is – other people said Sartre,

The road to hell is paved with –

good intentions. I felt like hell; are

——-

just the many man made ways we 

use a word that holds the world in

contempt; forgets to tell of the one

who came to hell and withstood its

———

snares, despair, and vile wares.

He sparred as he harrowed hell 

on a lonely hillside, braved alone, 

and faced the dreadful darkness down.

———-

He attacked it within and as death

lost its power. he cowered it across

the land, until hell punched the air

with joy over the sealed dark tomb.

———-

Dead, he harrowed evil o’er and more,

til he rose above the empty grave,

and hope erupted, gilding the day

and building a way for you and for 

——-

me to crush and push and thrust

hell, hushing its voice in a troubled

land and hassling it in our hearts

to pulse anew with joy and grace.

———–

To seek it, wreak it, break it and 

there in the darkest moment we

will find the candle set there by

a loving, grieving pearl of God.