The Witnesses

To honor Good Friday, I was asked to write a poem. I do not proclaim a faith, just a belief in love and the goodness of the human beings that walk this plane. The three part poem below is written from three perspectives witnessing the crucifixion. When it is read, it is from three different voices they come. I hope it speaks to your spirit if you’re so inclined.

The Witnesses

Verse One: The Observer

I’m not a Christian, but Lord, if I was,

I’d not stand by and watch them offer up applause

For that man they called a criminal for preaching about love

For the one some call Messiah, while others cry Peaceful dove.

I stand here in the crowd as they cheer this brother’s pain

My heart is filled with sorrow, as his beaten body strains

The laughter that I hear from the festive vicious hearts

Breaks something inside of me, tears my faith apart

I want to scream above the crowd, “HEAR!”

In a voice shrill and loud, “ME!”

With my head no longer bowed, “LORD!”

Releasing my own funeral shroud, “I AM NEAR!”

But I am weak, just human. I am nothing compared to them.

But maybe, my kindred spirits, that’s what moves me to condemn

For I love my God with all my heart, and in his house I walk

I serve in supplication, I don’t just talk the talk.

I am not a Christian, but Lord, if I ever loved,

I’d heed the wisdom of the dying man, and thank my God above.

Verse Two: The Participant

How dare that man pass his judgement down on me!

Who does he think he is, telling ME how to believe?!

I’ve learned and taught the toe-RAH

I’ve worshipped at the sacred altar

I’ve cantered every prayer

I can recite them without flaw or falter.

Then this mortal man comes along and claims to be

Far more holy than even me?

The Son of God? Oh, reeeeaaaaaaallly!?

I’ve fixed that preachy “Love Thy Neighbor” fellow

I paid my thirty silver to hear him scream in falsetto.

Sometimes the laws I enforce prevent me from doing what’s right

I pass the coins to Roman hands, let them bloody their own hands tonight

This should make my people think twice before leaving our faith

To follow a crazy instigator, that rejects my loving God’s face.

Verse Three: The Intimate

I am hidden in the darkness, afraid to show my face

“Oh Lord, why’d they tell us that Yeshua fell from grace?

You showed me my friend Judas with thirty silver in his fist

Forsake my dear beloved with cold betrayal’s kiss

You let my holy brother be taken

from the garden where we prayed.

You allowed him to be arrested

when you could have let him stay.”

I am hidden in the darkness, afraid they’ll point at me and say

That I was clearly one of his. That they’ll kill me the same way.

“Oh Lord, why have they called for my redeemer to be killed?

When ne’er a drop of anguish from his gentle lips have spilled?

I do not feel you near, Oh God, I’ve lost your loving light

When they took my sweet friend, Yeshua, away in darkest night.

If I weren’t hidden in the darkness, barely safe from Roman harm

I’d scream out my torment, beating my chest to sound alarm.

“Hosanna! Hosanna! I sing to your precious name

Hosanna! Hosanna! My finger points my brother’s shame.

My faith is ever yours, even when I don’t understand.

I mean, you took us through the desert, 40 years we wandered sand

And yet, my Father, I hide here, within this darkened room

I wonder, holy patriarch if his death will also be my doom.”

I am hidden in the darkness, despair my wretched dominion

Oh God! My Loving God! Remove my deserter’s vision.”

4 comments on “The Witnesses

  1. My goodness, outstanding!

  2. Linda Looney says:

    I truly love this piece. I can hear each voice -when you read it to me I knew immediately which character you were representing! Very good work.

    • When I performed it today, I gave each voice the sound they were intended. I put the concern, the anger, the fear where it was supposed to be. I had a pagan woman come up to me after the service and tell me that I moved her so much. I gave out 4 copies all signed. “I think your poem was my favorite part of the whole program.” said another. It feels awkward to hear that when I know my process, but I’m glad it spoke to people, engaged their emotions, and filled in some of the void with beauty.

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