As a part of preparing our hearts during Holy Week, particularly this Friday (Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion), Ryan Clark wrote this beautiful poem called “The Word, the Song”
Among all deaths, why was the cross so tragic?
What accounts for the blood-sweat, the pleading, the dread?
Before anything, You spoke and it was. Your Word created, connected.
You sang the majestic mountain, the industrious ant.
You sang the seas in their vastness, my mind in its complexities, the perfect
You sang the quadratic formula, the magnolia tree in full bloom, the small
You sang agape and phileo, a priori knowledge and lemon yellow.
Your song gives eternal a frame, gives aesthetics a palpable voice.
As image-bearers, we too sing.
You know our songs, hear us singing every day.
We sing our morning cup of coffee, our daughter’s reading homework.
We sing the never-ending stack of papers on our desk, the flower bed, edged just
right against the lawn.
We sing the hurtful gossip about our co-worker, the small pang of guilt that follows.
We sing the phone call to an old friend, newly divorced, trying to feed her kids.
This singing is our essence.
What is heaven but the song perfected, clarified, made beautiful and eternal?
What is hell but the song forever silenced?
And now, suspended,
At the knife edge of human endurance,
Metacarpals shattered by steel,
Blood bedewed thorns fiercely prodding,
Muscles tense, taut, on the verge of explosion,
You part your shaking lips to spew out a scream
Or a whisper?
The sound doesn’t matter, the voice does.
Above all, to sing,
To create, to connect.
But now, greatest tragedy,
For the cup has not been passed,
And you drink
Why was the cross so bad, Daddy? Lots of people die.
Asks my daughter, curled up on my lap.
And I sit,
staring quietly at the page.