I Am Thirsty

Last year, I wrote a series of three poems used for reflection during my church's Good Friday service. I decided to repost them this year, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one Friday, in the hope they may help us remember the great sacrifice that happened before the joy of Easter.

May these words remind us of the depth of Christ's love for us.


“I am thirsty,” is a most ordinary phrase.
For to thirst 
Is to be human.

Jesus is human.
The only human to ever be so by choice.
Human at a time the rest of us would have chosen 
Any other path than the one He walked.

For to be fully human 
Is to fully experience 
The agony of it all.

Jesus declares, “I am thirsty."

Did His thirst begin in the garden the night before?
When His heart broke into tears
And His mouth filled with the bitter taste of betrayal. 
When the kiss of a friend 
Was used to stab Him in the back.

How parched did His mouth become 
as the night dragged on with accusations?
When His tongue waited 
And restrained itself from words of defense. 
When the only water offered to Him
Was the spit spattered across His face.

How dry was His throat
When His lips were up against that post 
and the liquid ran red from His back?
When the metal ends of a whip
Ripped through His flesh 
Again 
And again 
And again 
And again.

Was there any water left for His tears
When thorns pierced His brow?
When blow
After blow
After blow
Drove the sign of the curse 
Deeper and deeper
Into the only head capable of bearing its burden.

How did He long for relief
When the heavy weight of that wooden beam
Was placed upon His cracked-open shoulders?
When nails went through His wrists
And pain shot like lightning up His arms.
When His knees were forced outward 
So His feet could be hammered like a piece of lumber.

How did Jesus feel His frailty, 
When He was hung
Naked
Upon that appalling tree?
When He chose to be human 
In the midst of public humiliation 
And unimaginable suffering.

How did He gasp and sputter
As His body reached for the life that was being drained from it?
When His arms pulled out from their joints
And pushed His lungs to the point of collapse.
When the One who breathed the earth into being
Struggled now to simply exhale.

Labored breathing.
Excruciating pain.
Agonizing thirst.

As God, 
Jesus could have blocked the torture,
Pushed away the suffering,
Stopped the death.

As human,
Jesus chose to face the torment,
Endure the anguish,
Experience the death.

“I am thirsty.”
This was Jesus’ declaration of humanity
And His demonstration of love.

Forsaken

Last year, I wrote a series of three poems used for reflection during my church's Good Friday service. I decided to repost them this year, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one Friday, in the hope they may help us remember the great sacrifice that happened before the joy of Easter.

May these words remind us of the depth of Christ's love for us.


Is all this really necessary?
This cross? This consequence borne by Christ?

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Things are not that bad.
Are they? 

We can only grasp a fraction
Of the immense weight 
Crashing down upon Jesus
That day.

The unimaginable burden
Of not only our individual misdeeds
Or our personal omissions,
But the iniquities 
And atrocities
Of generation 
upon generation
upon generation.
The entirety of wickedness
Since evil invaded the world.

The sin of human history
Creating a distance beyond our understanding.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Christ is forsaken. 
Dropped in the chasm 
Of overflowing corpses.
The bodies of those who have been massacred.
The hundreds murdered every day.
Every day.
For years stacked upon decades stacked upon centuries.

Christ is forsaken.
Adrift in the gulf
Of echoing wails.
The cries of those sexually assaulted.
Every two minutes. 
Over 
And over
And over again.
Shrieking in their violation and pain.

Christ is forsaken.
Standing in the abyss
Between oppressor and oppressed.
Taking the beatings of the millions,
Millions,
Who have been
And are 
And will be
Imprisoned, exploited, and enslaved.

Christ is forsaken.
Experiencing the void
Of lost generations.
Entire people groups wiped out
When neighbor turns against neighbor
When former friends slaughter one another
As nations collapse into genocide. 

It’s too much.
It’s all too much.

Too much for us to hold. 
Too vast for us to grasp.

This is the great burden borne by Christ.
Taking iniquities beyond imagination
Upon the only shoulders broad enough to carry them 
And loving enough to be crushed by their weight.

From the chasm of evil, 
For the sake of humanity,
Jesus cries out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Father Forgive Them, They Do Not Know

Last year, I wrote a series of three poems used for reflection during my church's Good Friday service. I decided to repost them this year, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one Friday, in the hope they may help us remember the great sacrifice that happened before the joy of Easter.

May these words remind us of the depth of Christ's love for us.


How did they not know what they were doing?
It seems like they should have known.

Those people
Who lied and schemed.
Who struck and ridiculed.
Who yelled and stared.
  

Maybe some understood the gravity of their choices.
Maybe others preferred the ease of going along with the crowd.

While the True King was dying for His Kingdom,
They held ever tighter 
to the kingdoms of their own making.

Yet,
To all those who were there,
To the conscious participators
And subconscious enablers,
 Jesus cried,
"Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing"  

Shame on them.

But what about us?

What about our secrets?
Those thoughts and actions we conceal.
Those sins we think are only hurting ourselves.

Do we know the real damage done?
Do we know how our hidden agendas
Contribute to the suffering of Christ?

Do we know what we are doing?
When we can’t seem to satisfy our hungers
When we let our never-ending need 
for just a little bit more
Control the way we live.

Do we know what we are doing?
When we climb our way up the mountain of validation.
When we let our desires turn to striving turn to competition 
And step on the backs of others to get where we want to go.

Do we know what we are doing?
When we lust and envy and hate. 
When we let our conscience embrace the lie
That people are objects to be manipulated
Instead of souls to be loved.

Our sins are a cancer
That has overwhelmed us.
But the consequence,
The death, 
Is taken by Christ.

With our spoken words and hidden thoughts
With what we do and what we fail to do.
We hold the hammer
And drive the nails deeper into His flesh.

Yet, 
He cries for us now 
What He cried for others then.
This is why He came.
This is why He died.
"Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."

Comment