Were you there?

 A couple years ago, while working with the youth at our parish, I wrote a poem as part of the stations of the cross "gallery" we had the kids help create. Basically, everyone picked a station (some stations had double entries so that everyone could participate), and then they created an artistic representation of that station. It turned out really interesting and is something that really helped draw at least some of them into the stations. I know it brought them to life for me. 

As part of the same display my husband made this cross (hanging on our wall this lent) as his first real wood burning project! 

Honestly, until that year it had probably been since something like 4th grade that I was actually involved in anything quite like it; and at least that long since I'd engaged with the stations. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the stations of the cross, it's basically an in depth meditation( with images, scripture and prayers)  on Christ's journey from being arrested and sentenced to death and crucified to being laid in the tomb. There are 14 stations in all. It is an appropriate meditation for all of lent, especially Good Friday, and is often recited and observed in a reverent service with other people. Most Catholic churches have some visual form of the stations displayed as permanent fixtures throughout the sanctuary.  

And if you're interested here's a scripture focused stations of the cross devotional (slightly different from the traditional stations which include a few stations based more on oral tradition than biblical texts). 

The Catholic church is rich with many traditions that help us really walk with Christ. Lent is a time when traditions help us do spiritual clean-up, they steer us homeward and spur revival as we look towards the resurrection. These traditions, like the stations, or the reading of the passion (where the congregation reads the part of the condemning crowd) , help us recognize our humanity and our need for that amazing grace. They show us how truly Great and mighty and merciful our lord Jesus is.

While my writing certaintly isn't so profound, I think the poem does capture some of this lent spirit. The poem is one that came about rather quickly and while I ended up hammering it out and making it fit a form..(I have since wondered if, perhaps, I didn't hammer it to ruins), it is one I'd like to share again this Good Friday. 

This Heavy Hammer 


As I raise this heavy hammer, 

I am the voice in the crowd shouting "crucify Him,"  

hate hurling from my lips 

thump-thwack, I nail Him to the cross 


Weeping like the women on the street corner 

unable to understand such brutality, 

tears cascade as I raise this heavy hammer 


I am the Roman soldier wielding weapons against  

this peaceful prisoner 

thump-thwack, I nail Him to the cross 


Wash my shaking hands 

like Pilate 

I nail Him to the cross 


Iron strikes iron 

weeping, wailing,  

sweat pouring, blood spilling, 

as I raise this heavy hammer 


His holy flesh pierced 

my soul spared  

as I raise this heavy hammer- thump 

and nail Him to the Cross 



(The Eleventh Station : Jesus is Nailed to the Cross) 

It came about when reflecting on Christ's words of "what so ever you do to the  least of these, that you do to me" and coming to the very hard realization that I too have nailed Christ to the cross. Every condemnation, every transgression against my neighbor, is a swing of that same hammer. 

 Lastly, I would like to share one of my favorite songs of Lent. One that pulls some of the same chords and tugs some strings- drawing us ever deeper. 




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