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By Rev. Ted Pike

Before the Devil and the world were young
there was no friend for God: so said the Son,
“Let man be formed; let evil also come and take him.
For that which I allow, by love, I’ll pay
by my spilt sorrow
and death in the place of him.”

So when an eon had its end
and rebellion like a boil had risen;
when He had finished Man and the Creation,
then into the Virgin’s womb, the Maker
became the made. It was dark on the day of His birth
near dark Jerusalem
but the stars and angels shone ‘round upon the night
and kept the darkness under.

In thirty years the child into a prophet grew
and by auspicious signs He made the people marvel.
Never had one done as He:
His lips were gracious, His eyes were kind, His hands were clean;
as a man He became famous in Judea;
all sought and wondered for His sign.

Unto the Jews, who knew to mouth His praise,
but also to ourselves, as yet unbegotten of full time,
He came.
He was rejoicing also of the desert tree
and barren field. The rocky pinnacle
and thorn and thistle
and all unwatered haunts
rejoiced to see Him come.
The Viper heard. The Kestrel on its rapine squealed.
The Coyote, Badger, Fox – cunning in their grief
were glad;
and billows, cataracts and thunderheads,
even great armies of angry men,
great multitudes of living dead –
politicians, whoremongers, Pharisees,
took note of Him.
For them and for every little child,
for everything, both the moral and the numb,
He came to bind together.

He came not to revenge,
but as the bridegroom to the bride,
His words were peaceable, entreating.
He came for love
but it was denied.
The very Soul of the Dayspring they hung
for jest, for laughter.
The made despised its Maker
and was unashamed.

II. Crucifixion

Out of a skewered side gashed red
the crimson mingles, flows,
sap from the Tree of Life –
now Death – our hope, our wounded remedy,
impaled and torn.
O Father forgive them
for the terror of His blood is now at hand!

The Moon’s outraged.
The Stars are troubled.
The Father turns;
He will not look.
The Lamb proffered,
the naked blame
hangs
as some chased and conquered beast
might be hung and jeered upon.

There was a time when miracle sufficed.
He, by a look, a touch, a daub of sacred spittle
replied to wounds
or hypocrites
by diction of a stare
that churned like skies in anger,
so causing terror by such gaze
no scribe or thief or hypocrite –
no unlawful man
might find a shadow.
But now by body,
not by words
or works
or any common fiat,
the backbones flex
the eyeballs roll
the blood and body surge
the voice box screams
Abba Father!
He is dead.

III. Resurrection

Far away within the tailrace of a New World river,
having braved the spray
of thunderous falls upstream,
dead and dying salmon swim or drift in circles
unto the sea again.

It is strange that death was meant for life,
and that these castaways, on call to gulls and crows
must die to leave remembrance
within a gravel womb.
Yet death is life to many things.
Some, such as the corn of wheat, the fish, the fallow field,
prove within a week or season
what dying sings.

Others must wait until the second resurrection,
when threshing’s done,
to taste what fruit shall follow them.
But time shall never see full measure of His blood.
His blood is beyond dimension to our good,
and like great principles of instinct or vast migration
is marveled at, described, debated,
yet always leaves our intellect outweighed.

His blood, like every nobly dying thing
is precious, yet with a difference:
His tomb is empty.
that stony sepulcher where Jesus lay was not
the home of His dishonor,
nor could the earth possess Him where He fell.
The third day He rose in triumph, mighty,
like the Spring itself
and bearing high within His palms, for all to see,
nail-tokens of fresh hope –
His proofs of victory!
Yet having borne and risen
He does not ask that alms be given Him.
He asks our one thing everlasting –
our Will
to be His own.
For we were His before the stars saw duty;
before the Moon in circles ran;
before our mothers or all delights of Earth laid claims upon us,
our most naked light was born in Him.
And now there is no feast of purpose more replete
than that we turn unto that God
from whom we fled
and hiding there, at last
discover our first Friend.
This is the kernel of our meaning,
and the only purpose worthy of His birth.
To him that is athirst, the Lamb says
“Come.”


(1976)

current Ted Pike photo
Ted, today - photo: John Pike, October 2019

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