Poem of the Week · Reflections

Good Friday: Remembering

candle crown

No matter what life issue seems most pressing, ominous, and overwhelming today (or even distractingly wonderful), Good Friday gifts to us remembrance. We remember that what is most real in our lives is not our transient struggles and stresses, but the unchanging reality of the Christ who came and “embraced me on the cross,” joining his undeserved blood to my own (Alexander Pope). Through his offering, my ¬†accumulated scars will be swallowed up in His victoriously resurrected life. Heaven’s eternal day makes today’s moments but a breath.

Here George Herbert reflects on his desire for the reality of Christ’s blood to permeate his every moment:

Good Friday
George Herbert, 1593-1633

O my chief good,
How shall I measure out thy blood?
How shall I count what thee befell,
And each grief tell?

Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one star show’d thy first breath,
Shall all thy death?

Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score a grief?
Or cannot leaves, but fruit be sign
Of the true vine?

Then let each hour
Of my whole life one grief devour:
That thy distress through all may run,
And be my sun.

Or rather let
My several sins their sorrows get;
That as each beast his cure doth know,
Each sin may so.

Since blood is fittest, Lord to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store, write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
‘No room for me’, and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

[Poem selection found in Between Midnight and Dawn]


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