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Good Friday

April 22, 2019

It was the day of suffering—the day of mocking, flogging, betrayal. Day became night.

 

Jesus. It’s the day He was crucified, the day He freely gave up His life for all mankind.

 

His story moves me today like it did when I was a girl. Today, I know Jesus was born for the crucifixion, to testify the truth.

 

The Son of God did not run away from suffering. He came to die for the sake of the world that sins might be redeemed.

 

No other way.

 

His body was buried, but Jesus was victorious. Satan was defeated.

 

Because of the cross, we can live redeemed.

 

Here is an excerpt of an Anglo-Saxon poem about Good Friday. It was written by an 8th century, unknown poet, and this is a translation by Richard Hamer (1970). In a dream, the poet beholds a beautiful tree, a rood, the cross, on which Christ was crucified.

 

From “The Dream of the Rood”(lines 30-103)

 

The Rood (cross of Christ) speaks:

 

“It was long past—I still remember it—
That I was cut down at the copse's end,

Moved from my root. Strong enemies there took me,
Told me to hold aloft their criminals,
Made me a spectacle. Men carried me
Upon their shoulders, set me on a hill,
A host of enemies there fastened me.

 

“And then I saw the Lord of all mankind

Hasten with eager zeal that He might mount

Upon me. I durst not against God’s word

Bend down or break, when I saw tremble all

The surface of the earth. Although I might

Have struck down all the foes, yet stood I fast.

 

“Then the young hero (who was God almighty)
Got ready, resolute and strong in heart.
He climbed onto the lofty gallows-tree, 
Bold in the sight of many watching men,
When he intended to redeem mankind.
I trembled as the warrior embraced me.
But still I dared not bend down to the earth,
Fall to the ground. Upright I had to stand.

 

“A rood I was raised up; and I held high
The noble king, the Lord of heaven above.
I dared not stoop. They pierced me with dark nails;
The scars can still be clearly seen on me,
The open wounds of malice, yet might I 
Not harm them. They reviled us both together.
I was made wet all over with the blood
Which poured out from his side, after he had
Sent forth his spirit. And I underwent
Full many a dire experience on that hill. 
I saw the God of hosts stretched grimly out.
Darkness covered the ruler's corpse with clouds
His shining beauty; shadows passed across,
Black in the darkness. All creation wept,
Bewailed the King's death; Christ was on the cross....

 

“Now you many understand, dear warrior,

That I have suffered deeds of wicked men
And grievous sorrows. Now the time has come
That far and wide on earth men honor me,
And all this great and glorious creation,
And to this beacon offers prayers. On me
The son of God once suffered; therefore now
I tower mighty underneath the heavens,
And I may heal all those in awe of me.
Once I became the cruelest of tortures,
Most hateful to all nations, till the time
I opened the right way of life for men.”

 

The entire poem can be found at http://english.nsms.ox.ac.uk/oecoursepack/rood/translations/hamer.html

 

May the Lord bless your Easter and other days,

 

Pat Durmon

patdurmon.com

Photograph of an Ozark dogwood blossom by Pat Durmon, April 20, 2019, taken on the day before Easter.

 

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