Reflections on the Resurrection: Three poems and three songs

empty tomb new

In reflecting upon the events leading up the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and his subsequent resurrection, three poems came to mind that I would like to share in this blog entry for the Thursday of Holy Week. From time to time I attempt to comprehend to a limited degree the unimaginable anguish and suffering that the Savior took upon himself on my behalf. The scriptures speak of “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. . . .” As I read about or view in a film or some other graphic portrayal, such as The Passion of the Christ, I am sometimes tempted to scream, “Enough is enough.” Such sentiments I express in this first poem which was composed on Resurrection Sunday, March 31, 2001:

More than Enough

How much is enough?

Can you measure the length of each scar on his back?

Can you trace the depth of each gash and follow each track?

Can you extract and analyze sweat, like drops of blood?

Can you remove water and blood and then weigh the good?

Can you collect the tears and hold them in a vial?

Can you assess the shame and disgrace of trumped up trial?

How much is enough?

 

One more mocking bow, one more man to spit in his face,

One more taunting gesture, one more mark of disgrace.

One more lash, one more gash, one more blow to the head,

As he endured the cross, despising the shame as he bled.

To smash once more, one blow short of certain death.

He cried, “It is finished” then yielded his last breath.

 

How much is enough?

Who can assess the worth of his blood and establish a price

For the precious Lamb of God, unblemished, sinless sacrifice?

God’s bounty of mercy is sufficient. His deep love will suffice.

Despite the deficit, God balances each account to set it right.

Where sin once had free reign, now grace has abounded instead.

The Lord himself provided the Lamb, whom He raised from the dead.

In His gracious goodness Jehovah-Jireh reminds us

That He is more than enough, yes, so much more than enough.

 

Listen to this corresponding musical composition, “More than Enough” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

Taking It Personally

As is often the case, Holy Week, or the commemoration of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, takes place during the same period as the Jewish Passover celebration. Such was the case in 1998 when Passover began at sunset on Good Friday, April 15. The congregation at my church partook of the Lord Supper or Holy Communion, and although I had taken communion seemingly countless times prior to that particular occasion, I apprehended to a much greater degree the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ and was inspired to compose this poem:

Taking It Personally

Isaiah 53

 

Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.

The suffering servant bartered for a price,

Battered and bruised for my iniquity.

Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,

Offered once, Jesus Christ, my Passover.

Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should

Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,

Lay on Him the chastisement of my peace.

From His side flowed water and sinless blood,

A new covenant established that I might cease

From dead works by a new and living way.

God’s good pleasure no longer concealed

But memorialized this solemn day.

Man of sorrows, with His stripes I am healed

In spirit, mind and body, for I am

Quickened and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

April 15, 1998

Passover

 

Recently I discovered this recording which expresses in part my response on that unforgettable Good Friday/Passover: “Just for Me” by Donnie McClurkin.

Witness

On a number of past occasions, when I first awoke on Resurrection Sunday, I would greet my wife or our daughters with the words “He is risen,” and the corresponding response would be “He is risen, indeed.” This phrase turns out to be the closing phrase in this poem:

Witness

Luke 24:1-9

The account of the women at the empty tomb

 

Though we did not journey with the women

In the dark before dawn that first day,

Nor were we walking, weeping with them when

Two angels spoke, nor did we hear them say,

“He is not here but risen as he said;

Recall that on the third day he should rise;

Why seek you the living among the dead?”

Though we did not see with our naked eyes,

In our hearts we know God’s desire to bless.

Though we did not touch Christ nor did we see

The open tomb, yet we still bear witness.

We have a more sure word of prophecy.

By the spirit, fruit of our Promised Seed,

We surely know He is risen, risen, indeed.

“My Soul is a Witness” is a traditional Black spiritual sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in a recording made in 1920. Click here to access a link to an article discussing the contribution of this musical ensemble who were pioneers in developing the spiritual and sharing it with the world. The group has a special connection with Columbus, Ohio where I formerly lived.

Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished through his suffering, his death, burial and resurrection, we can all be “a witness for my Lord.”

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