“He was despised and rejected,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Is. 53:3
AN ANGLICAN WOMAN ON GOOD FRIDAY
She sits down in the semi-darkness
of the sanctuary at twilight—
surrounded by others, yet alone with her soul.
One of the church carpenters has made
a rough cross out of wooden boards—
too small for a man, too big to be ignored.
When it comes time, she does not hesitate,
but scribbles down her sins on white paper
and goes forward.
All that anxiety dangles, fragile, between her fingertips.
All that fear and doubt. All her questions
about whether God is really good.
With the others, she takes a hammer
and a nail and pounds the paper
into the wood of the Cross.
Never has she had such a sense
that it was her sins
that nailed him there.
Her eyes are wide open
with fresh tears
as new life stirs inside of her.
When most of the others have gone,
she goes forward again
to serve as one
who takes all those tiny pieces of white paper
down from the cross, as if, taken together
they were his body
and she hands them to the priest for burial,
then bows to the cross,
venerating it for the first time in seven years.
Sunflower Songs (2012)