I await,

On Skull Hill,

With hammer and spikes,

For God.

Why do I fight against You?

No, rather, why did I ever fight for You?

How could I dare tell of Your love to those You afflicted?
Why was I so blind to Your guilt in it all?

I once was blind, but now I see.

How dare You still demand our trust?

What do You know of our pain?

I'll see that You learn.

You've visited us and we snared You. Tried and convicted You.
For Indifference- to human cruelty, natural disaster,
each and every unearned pain. Oh, some defended You-
the pets You blessed, healed, and comforted-
but why should that pacify the rest of us?

And I wait,

For You,

To deliver Your own scaffold.

As we stretch You onto the wood, I remember-
my prayers for Your mercy, for myself, my loved ones,
even strangers I pitied.

And I remember the answering silence.

My hammer rings as the spikes impale Your hands, Your feet.

We raise the tree, slam it into the ground. What a Deity!
-exposed, impotent, gasping.

"Father, forgive them. They don't know what they do."

We know, and no forgiveness is needed for an act of Justice.

He calls His Mother, entrusts her to the care of His friend.
They love Him, yet He chose them to witness this-
yet another proof of His cold Divine heart.

"If you're so mighty, save yourself and us," cries a thief
nailed up with Him. But another speaks in His defense,
getting a word of hope in return, a promise of Paradise.
An empty hope- but perhaps better than none at all.

A clear sky, a black sun, a vivid hilltop execution.
Three hours- He hangs, gasps, bleeds.
He thirsts, yet turns from the pain-killing wine.
He will die, fully aware, like a man.

Now His one scream-

"My God, My God, why have You abandoned me?"

A question, a demand, a mystery-

How does God forsake God?

Now He knows our full abandonment. Now He tastes Justice.

The Earth rumbles. He tenses His limbs, throws His head back,
gathers breath-

"It is accomplished!"

A death cry- and a laugh of triumph.

"Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit."

And He dies.

My men break the thieves's legs to hasten their deaths.
But I aim my spear-
for the heart of God.

Blood and water baptize me into the death of the Eternal.

Now what?

God dies. Earth shudders. Someone wonders, "Truly this was a just man."
Before, I'd have denied it. Now, who knows?

I've killed You, punished You for neglecting us!

And still there is no satisfaction.

Three days later.
Even worse.
He is back.
Hands extended in friendship.
Still torn by my spikes.

We didn't capture You. You surrendered.
You saw the pain-racked chaos Your creation
had become and dove into its depths to
remake it from the bottom up.

And I was Your tool to inflict Your Vengeance upon Yourself.

But what do You want of me now?

And what more could I want of You?


Note: This was inspired from an event in 1985 when a friend told me about being sexually abused as a child. We were both in college. I knew she was dealing with something & going through counseling. She had been struggling with issues of faith, trust & relationships, and I had been trying to help her, encouraging her to entrust herself to Christ. When she finally told me the core issue, I finally realized how hollow & presumptuous all my "good advice" seemed and was furious at her abuser, at myself, and at Christ, feeling like I could easily plunge the spear into His side if I were the Centurion. That brought about a spiritual catharsis and a new insight into the Atonement which took me four years to process and write out. The first draft of this was in 1989. It was three times as long and as brutal. It took five years to hone down into its final stark form. And so it has remained.

As for my friend, we are still in touch, does now have a faith in Christ, but can always use prayer.

Author's Bio: 

Trained in Counseling (M.S. 1986) and a Licensed Minister, Friar Ted tries to sound a lot more impressive than he actually is. But he's a heck of a nice guy, a good worker (in retail), a better-than-mediocre Christian, and a darn fine writer (when inspired), if he does say so himself.