Life? Pitch blackness. A labyrinth, spark-less,
Lungs expand & contract, circulating darkness;
All men beleaguered, bruised reeds in the maze,
Enmeshed in sin, culpable, Oh, grave dwelling place.
Meaning? We look for it, tunneling our past,
Sands of time, waters of hope, slip from our grasp.
Rusted toys, tools, and philosophies pacify;
We lost ones tread on, we dissatisfied.
Stability? We forge veneers for our bodies of death;
Offering up cheers, hollow, vague, half-breathed,
Self-proclaimed masters of fate, yet so mastered;
By time which keeps marching, marching every day faster.
Truth? It’s a stranger to us, though presumption,
Compels us to claim it and voice it, with gumption;
But our truth is spineless, with no heart nor splendor,
It’s relative and fading, ashes and tinder.
Beauty? For us, it’s a thing double-blurry,
Our objects are passing, our sight plagued by hurry;
We squint to perceive good in all the world’s wonders,
Which do briefly thrill, but leave our hearts asunder.
For all we like sheep have gone so far astray,
All we like fools have not numbered our days;
All we Serpent-like have coveted a throne,
All men ruptured cisterns, black-hearts, bitter-bones.
All we like insecure kings craving honor,
All we like orphans in this aimless wander;
All we like convicts trampling Heaven’s Law,
All we like narcissists without God-ward awe.
All we like cowards, saving face, loving self,
All we acting honest, but liars in stealth;
All we tight-fisted consumers have grappled,
Hugging our myth, our gold-plated shackles.
What then could mend this great breach in our souls?
What could make clean, make full, make whole?
What defines life, grants meaning, makes stable,
What rings true and beautiful, piercing our fable?
There in the Garden One Man was betrayed,
He shouldered our guilt and with bleeding pores prayed,
From “loud cries with tears” He emerged with resolve,
To fulfill the Decree, the elect to absolve.
Then kissed by a traitor, one not unlike us,
Who treasured not Christ, but preferred money-lust;
The King-eternal bound by the chains we procured,
His back whipped to ribbons, thorn-crowned, He endured.
He ascended the Hill, the Place of the Skull,
Where spiked to the Tree He would taste wine & gall;
‘Twas bitter, though not nearly as harsh or sour,
As the wrath He assumed in that holy hour.
The Messiah of Israel mocked by His kinsmen,
Mantled with Atonement-blood, red crimson;
While Roman soldiers stood aloof and blind-hearted,
Blind to the miracle of sin’s waters parted.
Only this God-Man could raise the cup well,
Only this Lamb could unseat powers of hell;
Only One Mediator could bear sin and blame,
Drinking justice to the dregs that we might be renamed.
“It is finished!”, He cried, Oh, ineffable finish,
The power and gleam of our idols to diminish;
The Fountain blew open, decisively, surely,
The sweet tide of mercy surged powerfully and purely.
Love vast as oceans and skies and all heavens,
Our sins pulverized, more than seventy times seven;
Fears, ills, and wants now eclipsed by His face,
Our orphan-state? Erased. Our debts? Not a trace.
As saving blood permeated Golgotha’s slope,
As Pharisees scrambled, the veil rent by hope,
Bewildered disciples hid themselves in their rooms,
Their warm-hearted Teacher was now cold, still, entombed.
And then, at the Father’s command angels stirred,
The stone’s seal was snapped, the curse overturned;
And indestructible life warmed the frame,
Of God’s own dear Son, the Lamb who was slain.
He rose once-for-all from the throes of the grave,
To make friends from foes, to make sons from slaves;
He slew death to ransom a Bride from all nations,
Once-for-all raised for our justification.
He conquered to rescue dead men from all tribes,
Silenced the Accuser’s feverish diatribe;
For this Man of sorrows with joy set before Him,
Would betroth the many, would cleanse and restore them.
He lives! He speaks! Let proud hearts be baffled,
His grace is now praised, our fable unraveled;
Let those who now trust Him, with joyful hearts burning,
Make haste to proclaim Him, until His returning. ——-
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like his.”
“…to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
-by B.A. Purtle