Saturday, March 19, 2016

Passion Voices: Mary


Who moved the stone? What's going on here?

It's not enough, I suppose, that we watched him suffer and die. It's not enough that every nail was pounded into my heart, that every lash of the whip tore my soul apart.

Now they've taken his body too!

What kind of low-life lunatic would do such a thing? We have nothing left except the comfort of giving him a proper burial. There was no time on Friday. They barely got him to the tomb before Sabbath began. 

And what a strange and silent Sabbath it was. Yesterday I could feel nothing at all. Not the warmth of the sun, not even the pain of my grief. Not the sweet Spirit of God which has sustained me since the day I met him. 

The world went on as always, as if nothing had happened. And even God was silent.

Don't you understand? He was everything to me. Everything. He's the only one who ever looked at me as if I were a real person. Not a harlot. Not an outcast. But as if I were a daughter of the Most High.

I hate the silence.  Never to hear his wonderful stories. Never to hear his prayers. Never to hear the sound of my name on his lips--the sweetest sound I ever heard. The only voice I want to hear is the one I can never hear again.

Here's the gardener. I'll ask him if he knows anything. Maybe he saw something. Maybe he knows who did this. How did they move the stone? Where is my Lord? Where is my. . .


Photo Credits:
    Entombment of Christ, by  anonymous Russian icon painter
    Easter Morning, painting by Johann Friedrick Overbeck

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Passion Voices: the Centurion

You get used to it. 

The stares. The contempt. The muttered curses. The spitting when they think we aren't looking. 

We came to bring the peace, but apparently they don't want peace. They prefer independence to the Pax Romana. 

Independence! These Jews can't even settle simple disputes about their own religion by themselves. And, of course, you can't argue with "the chosen ones." 

Or reason either.

I'm not used to arguing anyway. If I tell my men "Do this" or "Go there," they don't mouth off. They don't ask questions. They just do it. They just go where they're told.

That's what I told Jesus when I went to see him. That's why I understood that he didn't need to come to my house for my servant to be healed. I knew He could just give the command and it would be done. I do know something about authority, and I could see that this man had it.

I've tried to help these people. I gave money to help them build a synagogue.

But I don't understand this at all. Why are they crucifying this man? He has taught them, healed them, loved them. While they stand jeering and scoffing, even the sky has covered its face with a dark veil. Even the clouds are weeping. 

I've seen men die this wretched death--criminals who deserved it. Like these thieves, caught in the act! But this man has done nothing wrong. Nothing! 

Oh God, no. I think they've had their way now. He's not gasping for air anymore. He's dead.

Can't you people see it? I don't care what you say about him.

Surely this was the Son of God!

Photo Credits:
    Roman soldiers, by  Harrak.a
    Jesus healing the Centurion's servant, painting by Paolo Veronese
    Crucifixion, by Benvenuto di Giovanni
     Crucifixion, after Joseph Van Fuhrich, detail, photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Passion Voices: Thieves


Well, Saul. Here we are. Your plan a charm.


Shut up, Josiah. Just shut up.


Don't worry. We'll both be silent soon...thanks to you and your brilliant plans.


Shut up. Can't you be quiet even now? If you hadn't confessed ... we wouldn't be dying like criminals.


We are criminals.

Just! Shut! Up!


I wish Mom were here.


Why? Our mother doesn't care....Nobody cares. Didn't I tell you?


Don't say that.


Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing.


Forgive? How can anyone forgive this mob?


Show some respect!


Don't worry. This guy will save us. He's a king! [To Jesus] Hey, Big Shot! ... King of the Jews! Why don't you save yourself!


Quiet, Saul. Can't you see we're just getting what we deserve .... We're thieves. This man has done nothing wrong.


Whatever. It doesn't matter now. Nothing matters now.


It matters. [To Jesus] Lord, when you come into your kingdom ... please remember me.


Who are you talking to? He can't help you. We're all in the same boat here...and the boat is sinking.


[To Josiah] Truly, my friend. Today you will be with me in Paradise.


Thank you. Now I can die in peace.


Paradise? Have fun in Paradise, you guys.... Send me a postcard in Hell....

Photo Credits:
     Christ on the Cross between two thieves, Artist unknown

     Christ on the Cross between the Two Thieves, by Peter Paul Rubenst