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What Is ‘Good’ in this Friday?

In Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, author Russ Ramsey writes,

“The soldiers drove large nails through each of Jesus’s wrists into the crossbeam. With both hands nailed in place, they set his beam on the post in the ground and drove another nail through his gathered feet into an angled platform. The platform required the dying man to bend his knees, turning his legs to one side, contorting his torso. Once the soldiers had Jesus in place, they nailed Pilate’s sign above his head. The King of the Jews. They did the same with the other two condemned men.

As the first waves of agony swept across Jesus’ hanging body, he prayed, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.’ ” (Ch 34 “The Crucifixion”)

They don’t know what they’re doing.”

How many times in a given day do we recognize this reality about ourselves? Riddled with insecurity, we ridicule others. Burdened by defeat, we drink from the bitter cup. Confused, alone, we beg for understanding, purpose, meaning. Stubborn and willful, hearts of stone beating in our chests, we go our own way. Sheep without a shepherd, we wander lost.

Here, Christina Georgina Rossetti ponders the events of that long ago Friday, when the King of Glory beheld His own, and laid down His life that they, and we, who ‘don’t know what we’re doing,’ might discover the Truth, and be set free.

Good Friday

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,

That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,

To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,

And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved

Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;

Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;

Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon

Which hid their faces in a starless sky,

A horror of great darkness at broad noon–

I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,

But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;

Greater than Moses, turn and look once more

And smite a rock.

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