Listless soul of mine,
you dig so hard in the earth
to find substance,
you search so desperately among dark corners
to see beauty,
you listen so intently beyond tumults
to hear truth.
Soul of mine follow this short journey
He hung over the earth
ever so briefly,
like His Spirit hovered over the waters
To give life where there was none.
Approach the cross as darkness falls,
their work is done,
His just begun.
Odors of old sweat, broken earth, and woody rough-hewn beams
clog the air.
Cold are you at the cross,
it is cold, drab and silent.
but for the murmur of the crowd stunned
into quiet shock by the extinguishing of the mid-day sun.
But why cold?
Darkness and Death!
I smell it like the butcher shop floor,
chill and damp.
Trembling soul, kneel at the foot of the cross,
Before you, this splintered timber
stuck into the rocky ground speaks
of horrid torment and destruction.
Feel destroyed? You are.
No angel choir, no shouts of praise -
just muffled blackness and destruction.
My soul, He is dying for me, dying for me.
A torch flares not far away;
shadows dance about His feet
like demons leaping, taunting.
Dumb resignation to callous fate,
once again, old soul,
Hand of mine buried in loose soil
Angrily grasp dirt and clods,
crush them together;
Release the cross! Release Him!
I cannot bear it!
“I have and you will - for it is finished!”
a breathy, gasping, forceful whisper
from the cross,
NO! Not this! This is not supposed to be real!
Soul of mine you thought
this was a journey for good people,
Spending calm Sunday mornings
singing and praying and worshipping with uplifted hands.
No pain, no sorrow, no death… but no life either;
Just neat, clean little “lives”
tucked into padded pews (like coffins)
so securely no nasty world could find you.
No cold rain on your head,
or thorns penetrating to your skull,
No bones scarred and
sinews pierced by ragged iron spikes,
No failing heart rent within your chest
by the desecration of
Dirt filters through fingers like sands of time,
time’s run out.
Not poor in spirit, but bereft of life!
“What is twisted cannot be straightened.”
Trembling fist rises,
crumbs of ancient earth
fall upon my head,
dust to dust;
bits and pieces of joys hoped for,
wreckage of new earth.
Look, my soul, through the dim dust falling,
see the brave feet of my Holy Savior,
crushed for my sins, bloodied, dirty,
so full of pain
A crimson, shimmering drop of Him,
life in the blood,
blood of the Vine,
Slowly releases from His foot and falls toward me,
falls for an eternity of time,
gleaming with holy light,
a glowing, garnet ember descending.
Nearing, its emanations
illuminate bloodstained stones
at the foot of the cross;
shadows dance no more.
Twin seraphim proclaim triumphantly in the distance,
“Behold, the Lamb that is slain,
For by His stripes are you healed.”
Look, O Soul, there! And see
that drop shed for me
spatters the earth like an exploding star.
Luminescent, glorious rays,
refracting from His precious blood,
with the power of a thousand suns
slam into me!
“Elutriate, irradiate, this dingy soul of mine,
Glory of Heaven,
Soul. . . turn! Turn!
Turn and see -
the Cross is abandoned. . .
What now ?!
Beside me, a footstep crushes
the ruptured earth;
A Radiance, irresistible,
ceases my shivering.
Soul, take His hand. . . now!
He raises me up. . .
“Lord, can it be?”
“The work is done.”
“I thought. . .”
“I know. Do you feel the warmth of My hand?”
“Like. . . fire.”
He is burning me.
“All is well, it burns only death, life is rekindled.”
like a summer’s eve breeze
that sets the leaves to dance,
Incense of Heaven across the earth.
Rose of Sharon, sweeten my soul.
“O Savior, sweeten my soul.”
“Receive the Spirit”
Lord, my Brother, never let me go blind again.
“O Pure Light,
enshrined in holiness, inextinguishable,
Heal my vision,
remove the shadows from my murky heart,
And let not the agony of Your suffering
languish as legend again.
Let Your agape infuse my soul
with light for others,
bound up in drear and dusky deserts.”
“My friend, here is all the relevance,
here the Cross,
the crux of essential meaning you seek:
My blood, for yours, transfuses
your heart with Mine, My Substance;
My holiness, ever brilliant and changeless,
becomes your Beauty;
My Spirit, no less certain,
counsels eternal Truth.
Look - all is won!
It is finished,
Come, rejoice with Me.”
Joy, O Joy!
Faith of our Fathers, veritable;
Glory of my Savior,
Glory, Majesty, Power -
ring forth like steel on stone,
declaring eternal hope.
Soul of mine, fade not again,
let Him raise you from the crushed earth,
Complete in Him is your journey,
for all time;
. . . by Ken Paxton